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Title: A Brief History of the English Language and Literature, Vol. 2 (of 2)
Author: Meiklejohn, John Miller Dow, 1830-1902
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

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of the





  Professor of the Theory, History, and Practice of Education
  in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland

  D. C. Heath & Co., Publishers

_Copyright, 1887,_

By D. C. Heath & Co.


The present volume is the second part of the author’s “English
Language-- Its Grammar, History, and Literature.” It includes the
History of the English Language and the History of English Literature.

The first part comprises the department of Grammar, under which are
included Etymology, Syntax, Analysis, Word Formation, and History, with
a brief outline of Composition and of Prosody. The two may be had
separately or bound together. Each constitutes a good one year’s course
of English study. The first part is suited for high schools; the second,
for high schools and colleges.

The book, which is worthy of the wide reputation and ripe experience of
the eminent author, is distinguished throughout by clear, brief, and
comprehensive statement and illustration. It is especially suited for
private students or for classes desiring to make a brief and rapid
review, and also for teachers who want only a brief text as a basis for
their own instruction.


This book provides sufficient matter for the four years of study
required, in England, of a pupil-teacher, and also for the first year at
his training college. An experienced master will easily be able to guide
his pupils in the selection of the proper parts for each year. The ten
pages on the Grammar of Verse ought to be reserved for the fifth year of

It is hoped that the book will also be useful in Colleges, Ladies’
Seminaries, High Schools, Academies, Preparatory and Normal Schools, to
candidates for teachers’ examinations and Civil Service examinations,
and to all who wish for any reason to review the leading facts of the
English Language and Literature.

Only the most salient features of the language have been described, and
minor details have been left for the teacher to fill in. The utmost
clearness and simplicity have been the aim of the writer, and he has
been obliged to sacrifice many interesting details to this aim.

The study of English Grammar is becoming every day more and more
historical-- and necessarily so. There are scores of inflections,
usages, constructions, idioms, which cannot be truly or adequately
explained without a reference to the past states of the language-- to
the time when it was a synthetic or inflected language, like German or

The Syntax of the language has been set forth in the form of RULES. This
was thought to be better for young learners who require firm and clear
dogmatic statements of fact and duty. But the skilful teacher will
slowly work up to these rules by the interesting process of induction,
and will-- when it is possible-- induce his pupil to draw the general
conclusions from the data given, and thus to make rules for himself.
Another convenience that will be found by both teacher and pupil in this
form of _rules_ will be that they can be compared with the rules of, or
general statements about, a foreign language-- such as Latin, French, or

It is earnestly hoped that the slight sketches of the History of our
Language and of its Literature may not only enable the young student to
pass his examinations with success, but may also throw him into the
attitude of mind of Oliver Twist, and induce him to “ask for more.”

The Index will be found useful in preparing the parts of each subject;
as all the separate paragraphs about the same subject will be found
there grouped together.

J. M. D. M.


  The English Language, and the Family to which it belongs     193
  The Periods of English                                       198
  History of the Vocabulary                                    202
  History of the Grammar                                       239
  Specimens of English of Different Periods                    250
  Modern English                                               258
  Landmarks in the History of the English Language             266


  History of English Literature                                271
  Tables of English Literature                                 367

  Index                                                        381




1. +Tongue, Speech, Language.+-- We speak of the “English tongue” or of
the “French language”; and we say of two nations that they “do not
understand each other’s speech.” The existence of these three words--
+speech+, +tongue+, +language+-- proves to us that a language is
something +spoken+,-- that it is a number of +sounds+; and that the
writing or printing of it upon paper is a quite secondary matter.
Language, rightly considered, then, is an +organised set of sounds+.
These sounds convey a meaning from the mind of the speaker to the mind
of the hearer, and thus serve to connect man with man.

2. +Written Language.+-- It took many hundreds of years-- perhaps
thousands-- before human beings were able to invent a mode of writing
upon paper-- that is, of representing +sounds+ by +signs+. These signs
are called +letters+; and the whole set of them goes by the name of the
+Alphabet+-- from the two first letters of the Greek alphabet, which are
called _alpha_, _beta_. There are languages that have never been put
upon paper at all, such as many of the African languages, many in the
South Sea Islands, and other parts of the globe. But in all cases, every
language that we know anything about-- English, Latin, French, German--
existed for hundreds of years before any one thought of writing it down
on paper.

3. +A Language Grows.+-- A language is an +organism+ or +organic
existence+. Now every organism lives; and, if it lives, it grows; and,
if it grows, it also dies. Our language grows; it is growing still; and
it has been growing for many hundreds of years. As it grows it loses
something, and it gains something else; it alters its appearance;
changes take place in this part of it and in that part,-- until at
length its appearance in age is something almost entirely different from
what it was in its early youth. If we had the photograph of a man of
forty, and the photograph of the same person when he was a child of one,
we should find, on comparing them, that it was almost impossible to
point to the smallest trace of likeness in the features of the two
photographs. And yet the two pictures represent the same person. And so
it is with the English language. The oldest English, which is usually
called Anglo-Saxon, is as different from our modern English as if they
were two distinct languages; and yet they are not two languages, but
really and fundamentally one and the same. Modern English differs from
the oldest English as a giant oak does from a small oak sapling, or a
broad stalwart man of forty does from a feeble infant of a few months

4. +The English Language.+-- The English language is the speech spoken
by the Anglo-Saxon race in England, in most parts of Scotland, in the
larger part of Ireland, in the United States, in Canada, in Australia
and New Zealand, in South Africa, and in many other parts of the world.
In the middle of the +fifth+ century it was spoken by a few thousand men
who had lately landed in England from the Continent: it is now spoken by
more than one hundred millions of people. In the course of the next
sixty years, it will probably be the speech of two hundred millions.

5. +English on the Continent.+-- In the middle of the fifth century it
was spoken in the north-west corner of Europe-- between the mouths of
the Rhine, the Weser, and the Elbe; and in Schleswig there is a small
district which is called +Angeln+ to this day. But it was not then
called +English+; it was more probably called +Teutish+, or +Teutsch+,
or +Deutsch+-- all words connected with a generic word which covers many
families and languages-- +Teutonic+. It was a rough guttural speech of
one or two thousand words; and it was brought over to this country by
the +Jutes+, +Angles+, and +Saxons+ in the year 449. These men left
their home on the Continent to find here farms to till and houses to
live in; and they drove the inhabitants of the island-- the +Britons+--
ever farther and farther west, until they at length left them in peace
in the more mountainous parts of the island-- in the southern and
western corners, in Cornwall and in Wales.

6. +The British Language.+-- What language did the Teutonic conquerors,
who wrested the lands from the poor Britons, find spoken in this island
when they first set foot on it? Not a Teutonic speech at all. They found
a language not one word of which they could understand. The island
itself was then called +Britain+; and the tongue spoken in it belonged
to the Keltic group of languages. Languages belonging to the Keltic
group are still spoken in Wales, in Brittany (in France), in the
Highlands of Scotland, in the west of Ireland, and in the Isle of Man.
A few words-- very few-- from the speech of the Britons, have come into
our own English language; and what these are we shall see by-and-by.

7. +The Family to which English belongs.+-- Our English tongue belongs
to the +Aryan+ or +Indo-European Family+ of languages. That is to say,
the main part or substance of it can be traced back to the race which
inhabited the high table-lands that lie to the back of the western end
of the great range of the Himalaya, or “Abode of Snow.” This Aryan race
grew and increased, and spread to the south and west; and from it have
sprung languages which are now spoken in India, in Persia, in Greece and
Italy, in France and Germany, in Scandinavia, and in Russia. From this
Aryan family we are sprung; out of the oldest Aryan speech our own
language has grown.

8. +The Group to which English belongs.+-- The Indo-European family of
languages consists of several groups. One of these is called the
+Teutonic Group+, because it is spoken by the +Teuts+ (or the +Teutonic
race+), who are found in Germany, in England and Scotland, in Holland,
in parts of Belgium, in Denmark, in Norway and Sweden, in Iceland, and
the Faroe Islands. The Teutonic group consists of three branches-- +High
German+, +Low German+, and +Scandinavian+. High German is the name given
to the kind of German spoken in Upper Germany-- that is, in the
table-land which lies south of the river Main, and which rises gradually
till it runs into the Alps. +New High German+ is the German of books--
the literary language-- the German that is taught and learned in
schools. +Low German+ is the name given to the German dialects spoken in
the lowlands-- in the German part of the Great Plain of Europe, and
round the mouths of those German rivers that flow into the Baltic and
the North Sea. +Scandinavian+ is the name given to the languages spoken
in Denmark and in the great Scandinavian Peninsula. Of these three
languages, Danish and Norwegian are practically the same-- their
literary or book-language is one; while Swedish is very different.
Icelandic is the oldest and purest form of Scandinavian. The following
is a table of the


  [The table was originally printed in full family-tree form, using the
  layout below. The full text is here given separately.]

           |            |             |
           LG           HG            Sc
     ______|____      __|__      _____|_____
    |    |   |  |    |  |  |    |   |   |   |
    Du  Fl  Fr  E    O  M  N    I  Dk  Fe  Sv
                                  (Nk)    (Sw)

        (or Norsk).

It will be observed, on looking at the above table, that High German is
subdivided according to time, but that the other groups are subdivided
according to space.

9. +English a Low-German Speech.+-- Our English tongue is the +lowest of
all Low-German dialects+. Low German is the German spoken in the
lowlands of Germany. As we descend the rivers, we come to the lowest
level of all-- the level of the sea. Our English speech, once a mere
dialect, came down to that, crossed the German Ocean, and settled in
Britain, to which it gave in time the name of Angla-land or England. The
Low German spoken in the Netherlands is called +Dutch+; the Low German
spoken in Friesland-- a prosperous province of Holland-- is called
+Frisian+; and the Low German spoken in Great Britain is called
+English+. These three languages are extremely like one another; but the
Continental language that is likest the English is the Dutch or
Hollandish dialect called _Frisian_. We even possess a couplet, every
word of which is both English and Frisian. It runs thus--

  Good butter and good cheese
  Is good English and good Fries.

10. +Dutch and Welsh-- a Contrast.+-- When the Teuton conquerors came to
this country, they called the Britons foreigners, just as the Greeks
called all other peoples besides themselves _barbarians_. By this they
did not at first mean that they were uncivilised, but only that they
were _not_ Greeks. Now, the Teutonic or Saxon or English name for
foreigners was +Wealhas+, a word afterwards contracted into +Welsh+. To
this day the modern Teuts or Teutons (or _Germans_, as _we_ call them)
call all Frenchmen and Italians _Welshmen_; and, when a German, peasant
crosses the border into France, he says: “I am going into Welshland.”

11. +The Spread of English over Britain.+-- The Jutes, who came from
Juteland or Jylland-- now called Jutland-- settled in Kent and in the
Isle of Wight. The Saxons settled in the south and western parts of
England, and gave their names to those kingdoms-- now counties-- whose
names came to end in +sex+. There was the kingdom of the East Saxons, or
+Essex+; the kingdom of the West Saxons, or +Wessex+; the kingdom of the
Middle Saxons, or +Middlesex+; and the kingdom of the South Saxons, or
+Sussex+. The Angles settled chiefly on the east coast. The kingdom of
+East Anglia+ was divided into the regions of the +North Folk+ and the
+South Folk+, words which are still perpetuated in the names _Norfolk_
and _Suffolk_. These three sets of Teutons all spoke different dialects
of the same Teutonic speech; and these dialects, with their differences,
peculiarities, and odd habits, took root in English soil, and lived an
independent life, apart from each other, uninfluenced by each other, for
several hundreds of years. But, in the slow course of time, they joined
together to make up our beautiful English language-- a language which,
however, still bears in itself the traces of dialectic forms, and is in
no respect of one kind or of one fibre all through.



1. +Dead and Living Languages.+-- A language is said to be dead when it
is no longer spoken. Such a language we know only in books. Thus, Latin
is a dead language, because no nation anywhere now speaks it. A dead
language can undergo no change; it remains, and must remain, as we find
it written in books. But a living language is always changing, just like
a tree or the human body. The human body has its periods or stages.
There is the period of infancy, the period of boyhood, the period of
manhood, and the period of old age. In the same way, a language has its

2. +No Sudden Changes-- a Caution.+-- We divide the English language
into periods, and then mark, with some approach to accuracy, certain
distinct changes in the habits of our language, in the inflexions of its
words, in the kind of words it preferred, or in the way it liked to put
its words together. But we must be carefully on our guard against
fancying that, at any given time or in any given year, the English
people threw aside one set of habits as regards language, and adopted
another set. It is not so, nor can it be so. The changes in language are
as gentle, gradual, and imperceptible as the changes in the growth of a
tree or in the skin of the human body. We renew our skin slowly and
gradually; but we are never conscious of the process, nor can we say at
any given time that we have got a completely new skin.

3. +The Periods of English.+-- Bearing this caution in mind, we can go
on to look at the chief periods in our English language. These are five
in number; and they are as follows:--

    I. Ancient English or Anglo-Saxon,      449-1100
   II. Early English,                       1100-1250
  III. Middle English,                      1250-1485
   IV. Tudor English,                       1485-1603
    V. Modern English,                      1603-1900

These periods merge very slowly, or are shaded off, so to speak, into
each other in the most gradual way. If we take the English of 1250 and
compare it with that of 900, we shall find a great difference; but if we
compare it with the English of 1100 the difference is not so marked. The
difference between the English of the nineteenth and the English of the
fourteenth century is very great, but the difference between the English
of the fourteenth and that of the thirteenth century is very small.

4. +Ancient English or Anglo-Saxon, 450-1100.+-- This form of English
differed from modern English in having a much larger number of
inflexions. The noun had five cases, and there were several declensions,
just as in Latin; adjectives were declined, and had three genders; some
pronouns had a dual as well as a plural number; and the verb had a much
larger number of inflexions than it has now. The vocabulary of the
language contained very few foreign elements. The poetry of the language
employed head-rhyme or alliteration, and not end-rhyme, as we do now.
The works of the poet +Caedmon+ and the great prose-writer +King Alfred+
belong to this Anglo-Saxon period.

5. +Early English, 1100-1250.+-- The coming of the Normans in 1066 made
many changes in the land, many changes in the Church and in the State,
and it also introduced many changes into the language. The inflexions of
our speech began to drop off, because they were used less and less; and
though we never adopted new _inflexions_ from French or from any other
language, new French _words_ began to creep in. In some parts of the
country English had ceased to be written in books; the language existed
as a spoken language only; and hence accuracy in the use of words and
the inflexions of words could not be ensured. Two notable books--
written, not printed, for there was no printing in this island till the
year 1474-- belong to this period. These are the +Ormulum+, by +Orm+ or
+Ormin+, and the +Brut+, by a monk called +Layamon+ or +Laweman+. The
latter tells the story of Brutus, who was believed to have been the son
of Æneas of Troy; to have escaped after the downfall of that city; to
have sailed through the Mediterranean, ever farther and farther to the
west; to have landed in Britain, settled here, and given the country its

6. +Middle English, 1250-1485.+-- Most of the inflexions of nouns and
adjectives have in this period-- between the middle of the thirteenth
and the end of the fifteenth century-- completely disappeared. The
inflexions of verbs are also greatly reduced in number. The +strong+[1]
mode of inflexion has ceased to be employed for verbs that are
new-comers, and the +weak+ mode has been adopted in its place. During
the earlier part of this period, even country-people tried to speak
French, and in this and other modes many French words found their way
into English. A writer of the thirteenth century, John de Trevisa, says
that country-people “fondeth [that is, try] with great bysynes for to
speke Freynsch for to be more y-told of.” The country-people did not
succeed very well, as the ordinary proverb shows: “Jack would be a
gentleman if he could speak French.” Boys at school were expected to
turn their Latin into French, and in the courts of law French only was
allowed to be spoken. But in 1362 Edward III. gave his assent to an Act
of Parliament allowing English to be used instead of Norman-French. “The
yer of oure Lord,” says John de Trevisa, “a thousond thre hondred foure
score and fyve of the secunde Kyng Richard after the conquest, in al the
gramer scoles of Engelond children leveth Freynsch, and construeth and
turneth an Englysch.” To the first half of this period belong a
+Metrical Chronicle+, attributed to +Robert of Gloucester+; +Langtoft’s+
Metrical Chronicle, translated by +Robert de Brunne+; the +Agenbite of
Inwit+, by Dan Michel of Northgate in Kent; and a few others. But to the
second half belong the rich and varied productions of +Geoffrey
Chaucer+, our first great poet and always one of our greatest writers;
the alliterative poems of +William Langley+ or +Langlande+; the more
learned poems of +John Gower+; and the translation of the Bible and
theological works of the reformer +John Wyclif+.

    [Footnote 1: See p. 43.]

7. +Tudor English, 1485-1603.+-- Before the end of the sixteenth century
almost all our inflexions had disappeared. The great dramatist Ben
Jonson (1574-1637) laments the loss of the plural ending +en+ for verbs,
because _wenten_ and _hopen_ were much more musical and more useful in
verse than _went_ or _hope_; but its recovery was already past praying
for. This period is remarkable for the introduction of an enormous
number of Latin words, and this was due to the new interest taken in the
literature of the Romans-- an interest produced by what is called the
+Revival of Letters+. But the most striking, as it is also the most
important fact relating to this period, is the appearance of a group of
dramatic writers, the greatest the world has ever seen. Chief among
these was +William Shakespeare+. Of pure poetry perhaps the greatest
writer was +Edmund Spenser+. The greatest prose-writer was +Richard
Hooker+, and the pithiest +Francis Bacon+.

8. +Modern English, 1603-1900.+-- The grammar of the language was fixed
before this period, most of the accidence having entirely vanished. The
vocabulary of the language, however, has gone on increasing, and is
still increasing; for the English language, like the English people, is
always ready to offer hospitality to all peaceful foreigners-- words or
human beings-- that will land and settle within her coasts. And the
tendency at the present time is not only to give a hearty welcome to
newcomers from other lands, but to call back old words and old phrases
that had been allowed to drop out of existence. Tennyson has been one of
the chief agents in this happy restoration.



1. +The English Nation.+-- The English people have for many centuries
been the greatest travellers in the world. It was an Englishman--
Francis Drake-- who first went round the globe; and the English have
colonised more foreign lands in every part of the world than any other
people that ever existed. The English in this way have been influenced
by the world without. But they have also been subjected to manifold
influences from within-- they have been exposed to greater political
changes, and profounder though quieter political revolutions, than any
other nation. In 1066 they were conquered by the Norman-French; and for
several centuries they had French kings. Seeing and talking with many
different peoples, they learned to adopt foreign words with ease, and to
give them a home among the native-born words of the language. Trade is
always a kindly and useful influence; and the trade of Great Britain has
for many centuries been larger than that of any other nation. It has
spread into every part of the world; it gives and receives from all
tribes and nations, from every speech and tongue.

2. +The English Element in English.+-- When the English came to this
island in the fifth century, the number of words in the language they
spoke was probably not over +two thousand+. Now, however, we possess a
vocabulary of perhaps more than +one hundred thousand words+. And so
eager and willing have we been to welcome foreign words, that it may be
said with truth that: +The majority of words in the English Tongue are
not English+. In fact, if we take the Latin language by itself, there
are in our language more +Latin+ words than +English+. But the grammar
is distinctly English, and not Latin at all.

3. +The Spoken Language and the Written Language-- a Caution.+-- We must
not forget what has been said about a language,-- that it is not a
printed thing-- not a set of black marks upon paper, but that it is in
truest truth a +tongue+ or a +speech+. Hence we must be careful to
distinguish between the +spoken+ language and the +written+ or +printed+
language; between the language of the +ear+ and the language of the
+eye+; between the language of the +mouth+ and the language of the
+dictionary+; between the +moving+ vocabulary of the market and the
street, and the +fixed+ vocabulary that has been catalogued and
imprisoned in our dictionaries. If we can only keep this in view, we
shall find that, though there are more Latin words in our vocabulary
than English, the English words we possess are +used+ in speaking a
hundred times, or even a thousand times, oftener than the Latin words.
It is the genuine English words that have life and movement; it is they
that fly about in houses, in streets, and in markets; it is they that
express with greatest force our truest and most usual sentiments-- our
inmost thoughts and our deepest feelings. Latin words are found often
enough in books; but, when an English man or woman is deeply moved, he
speaks pure English and nothing else. Words are the coin of human
intercourse; and it is the native coin of pure English with the native
stamp that is in daily circulation.

4. +A Diagram of English.+-- If we were to try to represent to the eye
the proportions of the different elements in our vocabulary, as it is
found in the dictionary, the diagram would take something like the
following form:--

  Diagram of the English Language.

  |                    ENGLISH WORDS.                   |
  |                     LATIN WORDS                     |
  |  (including Norman-French, which are also Latin).   |
  | GREEK WORDS. | Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, |
  |              | Hebrew, Arabic, Hindustani, Persian, |
  |              | Malay, American, etc. etc.           |

5. +The Foreign Elements in our English Vocabulary.+-- The different
peoples and the different circumstances with which we have come in
contact, have had many results-- one among others, that of presenting us
with contributions to our vocabulary. We found Kelts here; and hence we
have a number of Keltic words in our vocabulary. The Romans held this
island for several hundred years; and when they had to go in the year
410, they left behind them six Latin words, which we have inherited.
In the seventh century, Augustine and his missionary monks from Rome
brought over to us a larger number of Latin words; and the Church which
they founded introduced ever more and more words from Rome. The Danes
began to come over to this island in the eighth century; we had for some
time a Danish dynasty seated on the throne of England: and hence we
possess many Danish words. The Norman-French invasion in the eleventh
century brought us many hundreds of Latin words; for French is in
reality a branch of the Latin tongue. The Revival of Learning in the
sixteenth century gave us several thousands of Latin words. And wherever
our sailors and merchants have gone, they have brought back with them
foreign words as well as foreign things-- Arabic words from Arabia and
Africa, Hindustani words from India, Persian words from Persia, Chinese
words from China, and even Malay words from the peninsula of Malacca.
Let us look a little more closely at these foreign elements.

6. +The Keltic Element in English.+-- This element is of three kinds:
(i) Those words which we received direct from the ancient Britons whom
we found in the island; (ii) those which the Norman-French brought with
them from Gaul; (iii) those which have lately come into the language
from the Highlands of Scotland, or from Ireland, or from the writings of
Sir Walter Scott.

7. +The First Keltic Element.+-- This first contribution contains the
following words: _Breeches_, _clout_, _crock_, _cradle_, _darn_,
_dainty_,_ mop_, _pillow_; _barrow_ (a funeral mound), _glen_, _havoc_,
_kiln_, _mattock_, _pool_. It is worthy of note that the first eight in
the list are the names of domestic-- some even of kitchen-- things and
utensils. It may, perhaps, be permitted us to conjecture that in many
cases the Saxon invader married a British wife, who spoke her own
language, taught her children to speak their mother tongue, and whose
words took firm root in the kitchen of the new English household. The
names of most rivers, mountains, lakes, and hills are, of course,
Keltic; for these names would not be likely to be changed by the English
new-comers. There are two names for rivers which are found-- in one form
or another-- in every part of Great Britain. These are the names +Avon+
and +Ex+. The word +Avon+ means simply _water_. We can conceive the
children on a farm near a river speaking of it simply as “the water”;
and hence we find fourteen Avons in this island. +Ex+ also means
_water_; and there are perhaps more than twenty streams in Great Britain
with this name. The word appears as +Ex+ in +Exeter+ (the older and
fuller form being _Exanceaster_-- the camp on the Exe); as +Ax+ in
+Axminster+; as +Ox+ in +Oxford+; as +Ux+ in +Uxbridge+; and as +Ouse+
in Yorkshire and other eastern counties. In Wales and Scotland, the
hidden +k+ changes its place and comes at the end. Thus in Wales we find
+Usk+; and in Scotland, +Esk+. There are at least eight Esks in the
kingdom of Scotland alone. The commonest Keltic name for a mountain is
+Pen+ or +Ben+ (in Wales it is _Pen_; in Scotland the flatter form _Ben_
is used). We find this word in England also under the form of +Pennine+;
and, in Italy, as +Apennine+.

8. +The Second Keltic Element.+-- The Normans came from Scandinavia
early in the tenth century, and wrested the valley of the Seine out of
the hands of Charles the Simple, the then king of the French. The
language spoken by the people of France was a broken-down form of spoken
Latin, which is now called French; but in this language they had
retained many Gaulish words out of the old Gaulish language. Such are
the words: _Bag_, _bargain_, _barter_; _barrel_, _basin_, _basket_,
_bucket_; _bonnet_, _button_, _ribbon_; _car_, _cart_; _dagger_, _gown_;
_mitten_, _motley_; _rogue_; _varlet_, _vassal_, _wicket_. The above
words were brought over to Britain by the Normans; and they gradually
took an acknowledged place among the words of our own language, and have
held that place ever since.

9. +The Third Keltic Element.+-- This consists of comparatively few
words-- such as _clan_; _claymore_ (a sword); _philabeg_ (a kind of
kilt), _kilt_ itself, _brogue_ (a kind of shoe), _plaid_; _pibroch_
(bagpipe war-music), _slogan_ (a war-cry); and _whisky_. Ireland has
given us _shamrock_, _gag_, _log_, _clog_, and _brogue_-- in the sense
of a mode of speech.

10. +The Scandinavian Element in English.+-- Towards the end of the
eighth century-- in the year 787-- the Teutons of the North, called
Northmen, Normans, or Norsemen-- but more commonly known as Danes-- made
their appearance on the eastern coast of Great Britain, and attacked the
peaceful towns and quiet settlements of the English. These attacks
became so frequent, and their occurrence was so much dreaded, that a
prayer was inserted against them in a Litany of the time-- “From the
incursions of the Northmen, good Lord, deliver us!” In spite of the
resistance of the English, the Danes had, before the end of the ninth
century, succeeded in obtaining a permanent footing in England; and, in
the eleventh century, a Danish dynasty sat upon the English throne from
the year 1016 to 1042. From the time of King Alfred, the Danes of the
Danelagh were a settled part of the population of England; and hence we
find, especially on the east coast, a large number of Danish names still
in use.

11. +Character of the Scandinavian Element.+-- The Northmen, as we have
said, were Teutons; and they spoke a dialect of the great Teutonic (or
German) language. The sounds of the Danish dialect-- or language, as it
must now be called-- are harder than those of the German. We find a +k+
instead of a +ch+; a +p+ preferred to an +f+. The same is the case in
Scotland, where the hard form +kirk+ is preferred to the softer
+church+. Where the Germans say +Dorf+-- our English word +Thorpe+,
a village-- the Danes say +Drup+.

12. +Scandinavian Words+ (i).-- The words contributed to our language by
the Scandinavians are of two kinds: (i) Names of places; and
(ii) ordinary words. (i) The most striking instance of a Danish
place-name is the noun +by+, a town. Mr Isaac Taylor[2] tells us that
there are in the east of England more than six hundred names of towns
ending in +by+. Almost all of these are found in the Danelagh, within
the limits of the great highway made by the Romans to the north-west,
and well-known as +Watling Street+. We find, for example, +Whitby+, or
the town on the _white_ cliffs; +Grimsby+, or the town of Grim, a great
sea-rover, who obtained for his countrymen the right that all ships from
the Baltic should come into the port of Grimsby free of duty; +Tenby+,
that is +Daneby+; +by-law+, a law for a special town; and a vast number
of others. The following Danish words also exist in our times-- either
as separate and individual words, or in composition-- +beck+, a stream;
+fell+, a hill or table-land; +firth+ or +fiord+, an arm of the sea--
the same as the Danish fiord; +force+, a waterfall; +garth+, a yard or
enclosure; +holm+, an island in a river; +kirk+, a church; +oe+, an
island; +thorpe+, a village; +thwaite+, a forest clearing; and +vik+ or
+wick+, a station for ships, or a creek.

    [Footnote 2: Words and Places, p. 158.]

13. +Scandinavian Words+ (ii).-- The most useful and the most frequently
employed word that we have received from the Danes is the word +are+.
The pure English word for this is +beoth+ or +sindon+. The Danes gave us
also the habit of using +to+ before an infinitive. Their word for +to+
was +at+; and +at+ still survives and is in use in Lincolnshire. We find
also the following Danish words in our language: +blunt+, +bole+ (of a
tree), +bound+ (on a journey-- properly +boun+), +busk+ (to dress),
+cake+, +call+, +crop+ (to cut), +curl+, +cut+, +dairy+, +daze+, +din+,
+droop+, +fellow+, +flit+, +for+, +froward+, +hustings+, +ill+, +irk+,
+kid+, +kindle+, +loft+, +odd+, +plough+, +root+, +scold+, +sky+, +tarn+
(a small mountain lake), +weak+, and +ugly+. It is in Northumberland,
Durham, Yorkshire, Lincoln, Norfolk, and even in the western counties of
Cumberland and Lancashire, that we find the largest admixture of
Scandinavian words.

14. +Influence of the Scandinavian Element.+-- The introduction of the
Danes and the Danish language into England had the result, in the east,
of unsettling the inflexions of our language, and thus of preparing the
way for their complete disappearance. The declensions of nouns became
unsettled; nouns that used to make their plural in +a+ or in +u+ took
the more striking plural suffix +as+ that belonged to a quite different
declension. The same things happened to adjectives, verbs, and other
parts of language. The causes of this are not far to seek. Spoken
language can never be so accurate as written language; the mass of the
English and Danes never cared or could care much for grammar; and both
parties to a conversation would of course hold firmly to the +root+ of
the word, which was intelligible to both of them, and let the inflexions
slide, or take care of themselves. The more the English and Danes mixed
with each other, the oftener they met at church, at games, and in the
market-place, the more rapidly would this process of stripping go on,--
the smaller care would both peoples take of the grammatical inflexions
which they had brought with them into this country.

15. +The Latin Element in English.+-- So far as the number of words--
the vocabulary-- of the language is concerned, the Latin contribution is
by far the most important element in our language. Latin was the
language of the Romans; and the Romans at one time were masters of the
whole known world. No wonder, then, that they influenced so many
peoples, and that their language found its way-- east and west, and
south and north-- into almost all the countries of Europe. There are, as
we have seen, more Latin than English words in our own language; and it
is therefore necessary to make ourselves acquainted with the character
and the uses of the Latin element-- an element so important-- in
English.[3] Not only have the Romans made contributions of large
+numbers+ of words to the English language, but they have added to it a
quite new +quality+, and given to its genius new +powers+ of expression.
So true is this, that we may say-- without any sense of unfairness, or
any feeling of exaggeration-- that, until the Latin element was
thoroughly mixed, united with, and transfused into the original English,
the writings of Shakespeare were impossible, the poetry of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries could not have come into existence. This is
true of Shakespeare; and it is still more true of Milton. His most
powerful poetical thoughts are written in lines, the most telling words
in which are almost always Latin. This may be illustrated by the
following lines from “Lycidas”:--

  “It was that _fatal_ and _perfidious_ bark,
  Built in the _eclipse_, and rigged with curses dark,
  That sunk so low that _sacred_ head of thine!”

    [Footnote 3: In the last half of this sentence, all the essential
    words-- _necessary_, _acquainted_, _character_, _uses_, _element_,
    _important_, are Latin (except _character_, which is Greek).]

16. +The Latin Contributions and their Dates.+-- The first contribution
of Latin words was made by the Romans-- not, however, to the English,
but to the Britons. The Romans held this island from A.D. +43+ to A.D.
+410+. They left behind them-- when they were obliged to go-- a small
contribution of six words-- six only, but all of them important. The
second contribution-- to a large extent ecclesiastical-- was made by
Augustine and his missionary monks from Rome, and their visit took place
in the year +596+. The third contribution was made through the medium of
the Norman-French, who seized and subdued this island in the year +1066+
and following years. The fourth contribution came to us by the aid of
the Revival of Learning-- rather a process than an event, the dates of
which are vague, but which may be said to have taken place in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The Latin left for us by the Romans
is called +Latin of the First Period+; that brought over by the
missionaries from Rome, +Latin of the Second Period+; that given us by
the Norman-French, +Latin of the Third Period+; and that which came to
us from the Revival of Learning, +Latin of the Fourth Period+. The first
consists of a few names handed down to us through the Britons; the
second, of a number of words-- mostly relating to ecclesiastical
affairs-- brought into the spoken language by the monks; the third, of a
large vocabulary, that came to us by +mouth+ and +ear+; and the fourth,
of a very large treasure of words, which we received by means of +books+
and the +eye+. Let us now look more closely and carefully at them, each
in its turn.

17. +Latin of the First Period+ (i).-- The Romans held Britain for
nearly four hundred years; and they succeeded in teaching the wealthier
classes among the Southern Britons to speak Latin. They also built towns
in the island, made splendid roads, formed camps at important points,
framed good laws, and administered the affairs of the island with
considerable justice and uprightness. But, never having come directly
into contact with the Angles or Saxons themselves, they could not in any
way influence their language by oral communication-- by speaking to
them. What they left behind them was only six words, most of which
became merely the prefixes or the suffixes of the names of places. These
six words were +Castra+, a camp; +Strata+ (_via_), a paved road;
+Colonia+, a settlement (generally of soldiers); +Fossa+, a trench;
+Portus+, a harbour; and +Vallum+, a rampart.

18. +Latin of the First Period+ (ii).-- (_a_) The treatment of the Latin
word +castra+ in this island has been both singular and significant. It
has existed in this country for nearly nineteen hundred years; and it
has always taken the colouring of the locality into whose soil it struck
root. In the north and east of England it is sounded hard, and takes the
form of +caster+, as in +Lancaster+, +Doncaster+, +Tadcaster+, and
others. In the midland counties, it takes the softer form of +cester+,
as in +Leicester+, +Towcester+; and in the extreme west and south, it
takes the still softer form of +chester+, as in +Chester+, +Manchester+,
+Winchester+, and others. It is worthy of notice that there are in
Scotland no words ending in _caster_. Though the Romans had camps in
Scotland, they do not seem to have been so important as to become the
centres of towns. (_b_) The word +strata+ has also taken different forms
in different parts of England. While +castra+ has always been a suffix,
+strata+ shows itself constantly as a prefix. When the Romans came to
this island, the country was impassable by man. There were no roads
worthy of the name,-- what paths there were being merely foot-paths or
bridle-tracks. One of the first things the Romans did was to drive a
strongly built military road from +Richborough+, near Dover, to the
river Dee, on which they formed a standing camp (+Castra stativa+) which
to this day bears the name of +Chester+. This great road became the
highway of all travellers from north to south,-- was known as “The
Street,” and was called by the Saxons +Watling Street+. But this word
+street+ also became a much-used prefix, and took the different forms of
+strat+, +strad+, +stret+, and +streat+. All towns with such names are
to be found on this or some other great Roman road. Thus we have
+Stratford-on-Avon+, +Stratton+, +Stradbroke+, +Stretton+, +Stretford+
(near Manchester), and +Streatham+ (near London). --Over the other words
we need not dwell so long. +Colonia+ we find in +Colne+, +Lincoln+, and
others; +fossa+ in +Fossway+, +Fosbrooke+, and +Fosbridge+; +portus+,
in +Portsmouth+, and +Bridport+; and +vallum+ in the words +wall+,
+bailey+, and +bailiff+. The Normans called the two courts in front of
their castles the inner and outer baileys; and the officer in charge of
them was called the bailiff.

19. +Latin Element of the Second Period+ (i).-- The story of Pope
Gregory and the Roman mission to England is widely known. Gregory, when
a young man, was crossing the Roman forum one morning, and, when passing
the side where the slave-mart was held, observed, as he walked, some
beautiful boys, with fair hair, blue eyes, and clear bright complexion.
He asked a bystander of what nation the boys were. The answer was, that
they were Angles. “No, not Angles,” he replied; “they are angels.” On
learning further that they were heathens, he registered a silent vow
that he would, if Providence gave him an opportunity, deliver them from
the darkness of heathendom, and bring them and their relatives into the
light and liberty of the Gospel. Time passed by; and in the long course
of time Gregory became Pope. In his unlooked-for greatness, he did not
forget his vow. In the year 596 he sent over to Kent a missionary,
called Augustine, along with forty monks. They were well received by the
King of Kent, allowed to settle in Canterbury, and to build a small
cathedral there.

20. +Latin Element of the Second Period+ (ii).-- This mission, the
churches that grew out of it, the Christian customs that in time took
root in the country, and the trade that followed in its track, brought
into the language a number of Latin words, most of them the names of
church offices, services, and observances. Thus we find, in our oldest
English, the words, +postol+ from _apostolus_, a person sent; +biscop+,
from _episcopus_, an overseer; +calc+, from _calix_, a cup; +clerc+,
from _clericus_, an ordained member of the church; +munec+, from
_monăchus_, a solitary person or monk; +preost+, from _presbyter_,
an elder; +aelmesse+, from _eleēmosŭnē_, alms; +predician+, from
_prædicare_, to preach; +regol+, from _regula_, a rule. (_Apostle_,
_bishop_, _clerk_, _monk_, _priest_, and _alms_ come to us really from
Greek words-- but through the Latin tongue.)

21. +Latin Element of the Second Period+ (iii).-- The introduction of
the Roman form of Christianity brought with it increased communication
with Rome and with the Continent generally; widened the experience of
Englishmen; gave a stimulus to commerce; and introduced into this island
new things and products, and along with the things and products new
names. To this period belongs the introduction of the words: +Butter+,
+cheese+; +cedar+, +fig+, +pear+, +peach+; +lettuce, lily+; +pepper+,
+pease+; +camel+, +lion+, +elephant+; +oyster+, +trout+; +pound+,
+ounce+; +candle+, +table+; +marble+; +mint+.

22. +Latin of the Third Period+ (i).-- The Latin element of the Third
Period is in reality the French that was brought over to this island by
the Normans in 1066, and is generally called +Norman-French+. It
differed from the French of Paris both in spelling and in pronunciation.
For example, Norman-French wrote +people+ for +peuple+; +léal+ for
+loyal+; +réal+ for +royal+; +réalm+ for +royaume+; and so on. But both
of these dialects (and every dialect of French) are simply forms of
Latin-- not of the Latin written and printed in books, but of the Latin
spoken in the camp, the fields, the streets, the village, and the
cottage. The Romans conquered Gaul, where a Keltic tongue was spoken;
and the Gauls gradually adopted Latin as their mother tongue, and-- with
the exception of the Brétons of Brittany-- left off their Keltic speech
almost entirely. In adopting the Latin tongue, they had-- as in similar
cases-- taken firm hold of the root of the word, but changed the
pronunciation of it, and had, at the same time, compressed very much or
entirely dropped many of the Latin inflexions. The French people, an
intermixture of Gauls and other tribes (some of them, like the Franks,
German), ceased, in fact, to speak their own language, and learned the
Latin tongue. The Norsemen, led by Duke Rolf or Rollo or Rou, marched
south in large numbers; and, in the year 912, wrested from King Charles
the Simple the fair valley of the Seine, settled in it, and gave to it
the name of Normandy. These Norsemen, now Normans, were Teutons, and
spoke a Teutonic dialect; but, when they settled in France, they learned
in course of time to speak French. The kind of French they spoke is
called Norman-French, and it was this kind of French that they brought
over with them in 1066. But Norman-French had made its appearance in
England before the famous year of ’66; for Edward the Confessor, who
succeeded to the English throne in 1042, had been educated at the Norman
Court; and he not only spoke the language himself, but insisted on its
being spoken by the nobles who lived with him in his Court.

23. +Latin of the Third Period+ (ii). +Chief Dates+. --The Normans,
having utterly beaten down the resistance of the English, seized the
land and all the political power of this country, and filled all kinds
of offices-- both spiritual and temporal-- with their Norman brethren.
Norman-French became the language of the Court and the nobility, the
language of Parliament and the law courts, of the universities and the
schools, of the Church and of literature. The English people held fast
to their own tongue; but they picked up many French words in the markets
and other places “where men most do congregate.” But French, being the
language of the upper and ruling classes, was here and there learned by
the English or Saxon country-people who had the ambition to be in the
fashion, and were eager “to speke Frensch, for to be more y-told of,”--
to be more highly considered than their neighbours. It took about three
hundred years for French words and phrases to soak thoroughly into
English; and it was not until England was saturated with French words
and French rhythms that the great poet Chaucer appeared to produce
poetic narratives that were read with delight both by Norman baron and
by Saxon yeoman. In the course of these three hundred years this
intermixture of French with English had been slowly and silently going
on. Let us look at a few of the chief land-marks in the long process. In
+1042+ Edward the Confessor introduces Norman-French into his Court. In
+1066+ Duke William introduces Norman-French into the whole country, and
even into parts of Scotland. The oldest English, or Anglo-Saxon, ceases
to be written, anywhere in the island, in public documents, in the year
+1154+. In +1204+ we lost Normandy, a loss that had the effect of
bringing the English and the Normans closer together. Robert of
Gloucester writes his chronicle in +1272+, and uses a large number of
French words. But, as early as the reign of Henry the Third, in the year
+1258+, the reformed and reforming Government of the day issued a
proclamation in English, as well as in French and Latin. In +1303+,
Robert of Brunn introduces a large number of French words. The French
wars in Edward the Third’s reign brought about a still closer union of
the Norman and the Saxon elements of the nation. But, about the middle
of the fourteenth century a reaction set in, and it seemed as if the
genius of the English language refused to take in any more French words.
The English silent stubbornness seemed to have prevailed, and Englishmen
had made up their minds to be English in speech, as they were English to
the backbone in everything else. Norman-French had, in fact, become
provincial, and was spoken only here and there. Before the great
Plague-- commonly spoken of as “The Black Death”-- of +1349+, both high
and low seemed to be alike bent on learning French, but the reaction may
be said to date from this year. The culminating point of this reaction
may perhaps be seen in an Act of Parliament passed in +1362+ by Edward
III., by which both French and Latin had to give place to English in our
courts of law. The poems of Chaucer are the literary result-- “the
bright consummate flower” of the union of two great powers-- the
brilliance of the French language on the one hand and the homely truth
and steadfastness of English on the other. Chaucer was born in +1340+,
and died in +1400+; so that we may say that he and his poems-- though
not the causes-- are the signs and symbols of the great influence that
French obtained and held over our mother tongue. But although we
accepted so many _words_ from our Norman-French visitors and immigrants,
we accepted from them no _habit_ of speech whatever. We accepted from
them no phrase or idiom: the build and nature of the English language
remained the same-- unaffected by foreign manners or by foreign habits.
It is true that Chaucer has the ridiculous phrase, “I n’am but dead”
(for “I am quite dead”[4])-- which is a literal translation of the
well-known French idiom, “Je ne suis que.” But, though our tongue has
always been and is impervious to foreign idiom, it is probably owing to
the great influx of French words which took place chiefly in the
thirteenth century that many people have acquired a habit of using a
long French or Latin word when an English word would do quite as well--
or, indeed, a great deal better. Thus some people are found to call a
_good house_, a _desirable mansion_; and, instead of the quiet old
English proverb, “Buy once, buy twice,” we have the roundabout
Latinisms, “A single commission will ensure a repetition of orders.” An
American writer, speaking of the foreign ambassadors who had been
attacked by Japanese soldiers in Yeddo, says that “they concluded to
occupy a location more salubrious.” This is only a foreign language,
instead of the simple and homely English: “They made up their minds to
settle in a healthier spot.”

    [Footnote 4: Or, as an Irishman would say, “I am kilt entirely.”]

24. +Latin of the Third Period+ (iii). +Norman Words+ (_a_). --The
Norman-French words were of several different kinds. There were words
connected with war, with feudalism, and with the chase. There were new
law terms, and words connected with the State, and the new institutions
introduced by the Normans. There were new words brought in by the Norman
churchmen. New titles unknown to the English were also introduced.
A better kind of cooking, a higher and less homely style of living, was
brought into this country by the Normans; and, along with these, new and
unheard-of words.

25. +Norman Words+ (_b_).-- The following are some of the Norman-French
terms connected with war: +Arms+, +armour+; +assault+, +battle+;
+captain+, +chivalry+; +joust+, +lance+; +standard+, +trumpet+; +mail+,+
vizor+. The English word for +armour+ was +harness+; but the Normans
degraded that word into the armour of a horse. +Battle+ comes from the
Fr. _battre_, to beat: the corresponding English word is +fight+.
+Captain+ comes from the Latin _caput_, a head. +Mail+ comes from the
Latin _macula_, the mesh of a net; and the first coats of mail were made
of rings or a kind of metal network. +Vizor+ comes from the Fr. _viser_,
to look. It was the barred part of the helmet which a man could see

26. +Norman Words+ (_c_).-- Feudalism may be described as the holding of
land on condition of giving or providing service in war. Thus a knight
held land of his baron, under promise to serve him so many days; a baron
of his king, on condition that he brought so many men into the field for
such and such a time at the call of his Overlord. William the Conqueror
made the feudal system universal in every part of England, and compelled
every English baron to swear homage to himself personally. Words
relating to feudalism are, among others: +Homage+, +fealty+; +esquire+,
+vassal+; +herald+, +scutcheon+, and others. +Homage+ is the declaration
of obedience for life of one man to another-- that the inferior is the
_man_ (Fr. _homme_; L. _homo_) of the superior. +Fealty+ is the
Norman-French form of the word _fidelity_. An +esquire+ is a +scutiger+
(L.), or _shield-bearer_; for he carried the shield of the knight, when
they were travelling and no fighting was going on. A +vassal+ was a
“little young man,”-- in Low-Latin +vassallus+, a diminutive of
_vassus_, from the Keltic word _gwâs_, a man. (The form _vassaletus_ is
also found, which gives us our _varlet_ and _valet_.) +Scutcheon+ comes
from the Lat. _scutum_, a shield. Then scutcheon or escutcheon came to
mean _coat-of-arms_-- or the marks and signs on his shield by which the
name and family of a man were known, when he himself was covered from
head to foot in iron mail.

27. +Norman Words+ (_d_).-- The terms connected with the chase are:
+Brace+, +couple+; +chase+, +course+; +covert+, +copse+, +forest+;
+leveret+, +mews+; +quarry+, +venison+. A few remarks about some of
these may be interesting. +Brace+ comes from the Old French _brace_, an
arm (Mod. French _bras_); from the Latin _brachium_. The root-idea seems
to be that which encloses or holds up. Thus _bracing_ air is that which
_strings_ up the nerves and muscles; and a _brace_ of birds was two
birds tied together with a string. --The word +forest+ contains in
itself a good deal of unwritten Norman history. It comes from the Latin
adverb _foras_, out of doors. Hence, in Italy, a stranger or foreigner
is still called a _forestiere_. A forest in Norman-French was not
necessarily a breadth of land covered with trees; it was simply land
_out of_ the jurisdiction of the common law. Hence, when William the
Conqueror created the New Forest, he merely took the land _out of_ the
rule and charge of the common law, and put it under his own regal power
and personal care. In land of this kind-- much of which was kept for
hunting in-- trees were afterwards planted, partly to shelter large
game, and partly to employ ground otherwise useless in growing timber.
--+Mews+ is a very odd word. It comes from the Latin verb _mutare_, to
change. When the falcons employed in hunting were changing their
feathers, or _moulting_ (the word _moult_ is the same as _mews_ in a
different dress), the French shut them in a cage, which they called
+mue+-- from _mutare_. Then the stables for horses were put in the same
place; and hence a row of stables has come to be called a +mews+.
--+Quarry+ is quite as strange. The word _quarry_, which means a mine of
stones, comes from the Latin _quadrāre_, to make square. But the hunting
term _quarry_ is of a quite different origin. That comes from the Latin
_cor_ (the heart), which the Old French altered into +quer+. When a wild
beast was run down and killed, the heart and entrails were thrown to the
dogs as their share of the hunt. Hence Milton says of the eagle, “He
scents his quarry from afar.” --The word +venison+ comes to us, through
French, from the Lat. _venāri_, to hunt; and hence it means _hunted
flesh_. The same word gives us _venery_-- the term that was used in the
fourteenth century, by Chaucer among others, for hunting.

28. +Norman Words+ (_e_).-- The Normans introduced into England their
own system of law, their own law officers; and hence, into the English
language, came Norman-French law terms. The following are a few:
+Assize+, +attorney+; +chancellor+, +court+; +judge+, +justice+;
+plaintiff+,+ sue+; +summons+, +trespass+. A few remarks about some of
these may be useful. The +chancellor+ (_cancellarius_) was the legal
authority who sat behind lattice-work, which was called in Latin
_cancelli_. This word means, primarily, _little crabs_; and it is a
diminutive from _cancer_, a crab. It was so called because the
lattice-work looked like crabs’ claws crossed. Our word _cancel_ comes
from the same root: it means to make cross lines through anything we
wish deleted. --+Court+ comes from the Latin _cors_ or _cohors_,
a sheep-pen. It afterwards came to mean an enclosure, and also a body of
Roman soldiers. --The proper English word for a _judge_ is +deemster+ or
+demster+ (which appears as the proper name _Dempster_); and this is
still the name for a judge in the Isle of Man. The French word comes
from two Latin words, _dico_, I utter, and _jus_, right. The word jus is
seen in the other French term which we have received from the Normans--
+justice+. --+Sue+ comes from the Old Fr. _suir_, which appears in
Modern Fr. as _suivre_. It is derived from the Lat. word _sequor_,
I follow (which gives our _sequel_); and we have compounds of it in
_ensue_, _issue_, and _pursue_. --The +tres+ in +trespass+ is a French
form of the Latin trans, beyond or across. _Trespass_, therefore, means
to cross the bounds of right.

29. +Norman Words+ (_f_).-- Some of the church terms introduced by the
Norman-French are: +Altar+, +Bible+; +baptism+, +ceremony+; +friar+;
+tonsure+; +penance+, +relic+. --The Normans gave us the words +title+
and +dignity+ themselves, and also the following titles: +Duke+,
+marquis+; +count+, +viscount+; +peer+; +mayor+, and others. A duke is a
_leader_; from the Latin _dux_ (= _duc-s_). A +marquis+ is a lord who
has to ride the _marches_ or borders between one county, or between one
country, and another. A marquis was also called a +Lord-Marcher+. The
word +count+ never took root in this island, because its place was
already occupied by the Danish name _earl_; but we preserve it in the
names +countess+ and +viscount+-- the latter of which means a person _in
the place of_ (L. _vice_) a count. +Peer+ comes from the Latin _par_, an
equal. The House of Peers is the House of Lords-- that is, of those who
are, at least when in the House, _equal_ in rank and _equal_ in power of
voting. It is a fundamental doctrine in English law that every man “is
to be tried by his _peers_.” --It is worthy of note that, in general,
the +French+ names for different kinds of food designated the +cooked+
meats; while the names for the +living+ animals that furnish them are
+English+. Thus we have _beef_ and _ox_; _mutton_ and _sheep_; _veal_
and _calf_; _pork_ and _pig_. There is a remarkable passage in Sir
Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe,’ which illustrates this fact with great force
and picturesqueness:--

“‘Gurth, I advise thee to call off Fangs, and leave the herd to their
destiny, which, whether they meet with bands of travelling soldiers,
or of outlaws, or of wandering pilgrims, can be little else than to be
converted into Normans before morning, to thy no small ease and

“‘The swine turned Normans to my comfort!’ quoth Gurth; ‘expound that to
me, Wamba, for my brain is too dull, and my mind too vexed, to read

“‘Why, how call you those grunting brutes running about on their four
legs?’ demanded Wamba.

“‘Swine, fool, swine,’ said the herd; ‘every fool knows that.’

“‘And swine is good Saxon,’ said the jester; ‘but how call you the sow
when she is flayed, and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels,
like a traitor?’

“‘Pork,’ answered the swine-herd.

“‘I am very glad every fool knows that too,’ said Wamba; ‘and pork,
I think, is good Norman-French: and so when the brute lives, and is in
the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a
Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the castle-hall to
feast among the nobles; what dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha?’

“‘It is but too true doctrine, friend Wamba, however it got into thy
fool’s pate.’

“‘Nay, I can tell you more,’ said Wamba, in the same tone; ‘there is old
Alderman Ox continues to hold his Saxon epithet, while he is under the
charge of serfs and bondsmen such as thou, but becomes Beef, a fiery
French gallant, when he arrives before the worshipful jaws that are
destined to consume him. Myhneer Calf, too, becomes Monsieur de Veau in
the like manner; he is Saxon when he requires tendance, and takes a
Norman name when he becomes matter of enjoyment.’”

30. +General Character of the Norman-French Contributions.+-- The
Norman-French contributions to our language gave us a number of +general
names+ or +class-names+; while the names for +individual+ things are, in
general, of purely English origin. The words +animal+ and +beast+, for
example, are French (or Latin); but the words +fox+, +hound+, +whale+,
+snake+, +wasp+, and +fly+ are purely English. --The words +family+,
+relation+, +parent+, +ancestor+, are French; but the names +father+,
+mother+, +son+, +daughter+, +gossip+, are English. --The words +title+
and +dignity+ are French; but the words +king+ and +queen+, +lord+ and
+lady+, +knight+ and +sheriff+, are English. --Perhaps the most
remarkable instance of this is to be found in the abstract terms
employed for the offices and functions of State. Of these, the English
language possesses only one-- the word +kingdom+. Norman-French, on the
other hand, has given us the words +realm+, +court+, +state+,
+constitution+, +people+, +treaty+, +audience+, +navy+, +army+, and
others-- amounting in all to nearly forty. When, however, we come to
terms denoting labour and work-- such as agriculture and seafaring, we
find the proportions entirely reversed. The English language, in such
cases, contributes almost everything; the French nearly nothing. In
agriculture, while +plough+, +rake+, +harrow+, +flail+, and many others
are English words, not a single term for an agricultural process or
implement has been given us by the warlike Norman-French. --While the
words +ship+ and +boat+; +hull+ and +fleet+; +oar+ and +sail+, are all
English, the Normans have presented us with only the single word +prow+.
It is as if all the Norman conqueror had to do was to take his stand at
the prow, gazing upon the land he was going to seize, while the
Low-German sailors worked for him at oar and sail. --Again, while the
names of the various parts of the body-- +eye+, +nose+, +cheek+,
+tongue+, +hand+, +foot+, and more than eighty others-- are all English,
we have received only about ten similar words from the French-- such as
+spirit+ and +corpse+; +perspiration+; +face+ and +stature+. Speaking
broadly, we may say that all words that express +general notions+,
or generalisations, are French or Latin; while words that express
+specific+ actions or concrete existences are pure English. Mr Spalding
observes-- “We use a foreign term naturalised when we speak of ‘colour’
universally; but we fall back on our home stores if we have to tell what
the colour is, calling it ‘red’ or ‘yellow,’ ‘white’ or ‘black,’ ‘green’
or ‘brown.’ We are Romans when we speak in a _general_ way of ‘moving’;
but we are Teutons if we ‘leap’ or ‘spring,’ if we ‘slip,’ ‘slide,’ or
‘fall,’ if we ‘walk,’ ‘run,’ ‘swim,’ or ‘ride,’ if we ‘creep’ or ‘crawl’
or ‘fly.’”

31. +Gains to English from Norman-French.+-- The gains from the
Norman-French contribution are large, and are also of very great
importance. Mr Lowell says, that the Norman element came in as
quickening leaven to the rather heavy and lumpy Saxon dough. It stirred
the whole mass, gave new life to the language, a much higher and wider
scope to the thoughts, much greater power and copiousness to the
expression of our thoughts, and a finer and brighter rhythm to our
English sentences. “To Chaucer,” he says, in ‘My Study Windows,’ “French
must have been almost as truly a mother tongue as English. In him we see
the first result of the Norman yeast upon the home-baked Saxon loaf. The
flour had been honest, the paste well kneaded, but the inspiring leaven
was wanting till the Norman brought it over. Chaucer works still in the
solid material of his race, but with what airy lightness has he not
infused it? Without ceasing to be English, he has escaped from being
insular.” Let us look at some of these gains a little more in detail.

32. +Norman-French Synonyms.+-- We must not consider a +synonym+ as a
word that means exactly _the same thing_ as the word of which it is a
synonym; because then there would be neither room nor use for such a
word in the language. A synonym is a word of the same meaning as
another, but with a slightly different shade of meaning,-- or it is used
under different circumstances and in a different connection, or it puts
the same idea under a new angle. +Begin+ and +commence+, +will+ and
+testament+, are exact equivalents-- are complete synonyms; but there
are very few more of this kind in our language. The moment the genius of
a language gets hold of two words of the same meaning, it sets them to
do different kinds of work,-- to express different parts or shades of
that meaning. Thus +limb+ and +member+, +luck+ and +fortune+, have the
same meaning; but we cannot speak of a _limb_ of the Royal Society, or
of the _luck_ of the Rothschilds, who made their _fortune_ by hard work
and steady attention to business. We have, by the aid of the
Norman-French contributions, +flower+ as well as +bloom+; +branch+ and
+bough+; +purchase+ and +buy+; +amiable+ and +friendly+; +cordial+ and
+hearty+; +country+ and +land+; +gentle+ and +mild+; +desire+ and
+wish+; +labour+ and +work+; +miserable+ and +wretched+. These pairs of
words enable poets and other writers to use the right word in the right
place. And we, preferring our Saxon or good old English words to any
French or Latin importations, prefer to speak of +a hearty welcome+
instead of +a cordial reception+; of +a loving wife+ instead of an
+amiable consort+; of +a wretched man+ instead of +a miserable

33. +Bilingualism.+-- How did these Norman-French words find their way
into the language? What was the road by which they came? What was the
process that enabled them to find a place in and to strike deep root
into our English soil? Did the learned men-- the monks and the clergy--
make a selection of words, write them in their books, and teach them to
the English people? Nothing of the sort. The process was a much ruder
one-- but at the same time one much more practical, more effectual, and
more lasting in its results. The two peoples-- the Normans and the
English-- found that they had to live together. They met at church, in
the market-place, in the drilling field, at the archery butts, in the
courtyards of castles; and, on the battle-fields of France, the Saxon
bowman showed that he could fight as well, as bravely, and even to
better purpose than his lord-- the Norman baron. At all these places,
under all these circumstances, the Norman and the Englishman were
obliged to speak with each other. Now arose a striking phenomenon. Every
man, as Professor Earle puts it, turned himself as it were into a
walking phrase-book or dictionary. When a Norman had to use a French
word, he tried to put the English word for it alongside of the French
word; when an Englishman used an English word, he joined with it the
French equivalent. Then the language soon began to swarm with “yokes of
words”; our words went in couples; and the habit then begun has
continued down even to the present day. And thus it is that we possess
such couples as +will and testament+; +act and deed+; +use and wont+;
+aid and abet+. Chaucer’s poems are full of these pairs. He joins
together +hunting and venery+ (though both words mean exactly the same
thing); +nature and kind+; +cheere and face+; +pray and beseech+; +mirth
and jollity+. Later on, the Prayer-Book, which was written in the years
1540 to 1559, keeps up the habit: and we find the pairs +acknowledge and
confess+; +assemble and meet together+; +dissemble and cloak+; +humble
and lowly+. To the more English part of the congregation the simple
Saxon words would come home with kindly association; to others, the
words _confess_, _assemble_, _dissemble_, and _humble_ would speak with
greater force and clearness. --Such is the phenomenon called by
Professor Earle +bilingualism+. “It is, in fact,” he says, “a putting of
colloquial formulæ to do the duty of a French-English and English-French
vocabulary.” Even Hooker, who wrote at the end of the sixteenth century,
seems to have been obliged to use these pairs; and we find in his
writings the couples “cecity and blindness,” “nocive and hurtful,”
“sense and meaning.”

34. +Losses of English from the Incoming of Norman-French.+-- (i) Before
the coming of the Normans, the English language was in the habit of
forming compounds with ease and effect. But, after the introduction of
the Norman-French language, that power seems gradually to have
disappeared; and ready-made French or Latin words usurped the place of
the home-grown English compound. Thus +despair+ pushed out +wanhope+;
+suspicion+ dethroned +wantrust+; +bidding-sale+ was expelled by
+auction+; +learning-knight+ by +disciple+; +rime-craft+ by the Greek
word +arithmetic+; +gold-hoard+ by +treasure+; +book-hoard+ by
+library+; +earth-tilth+ by +agriculture+; +wonstead+ by +residence+;
and so with a large number of others. --Many English words, moreover,
had their meanings depreciated and almost degraded; and the words
themselves lost their ancient rank and dignity. Thus the Norman
conquerors put their foot-- literally and metaphorically-- on the Saxon
+chair+,[5] which thus became a +stool+, or a +footstool+. +Thatch+,
which is a doublet of the word +deck+, was the name for any kind of
roof; but the coming of the Norman-French lowered it to indicate a _roof
of straw_. +Whine+ was used for the weeping or crying of human beings;
but it is now restricted to the cry of a dog. +Hide+ was the generic
term for the skin of any animal; it is now limited in modern English to
the skin of a beast. --The most damaging result upon our language was
that it entirely +stopped the growth of English words+. We could, for
example, make out of the word +burn+-- the derivatives +brunt+, +brand+,
+brandy+, +brown+, +brimstone+, and others; but this power died out with
the coming in of the Norman-French language. After that, instead of
growing our own words, we adopted them ready-made. --Professor Craik
compares the English and Latin languages to two banks; and says that,
when the Normans came over, the account at the English bank was closed,
and we drew only upon the Latin bank. But the case is worse than this.
English lost its power of growth and expansion from the centre; from
this time, it could only add to its bulk by borrowing and conveying from
without-- by the external accretion of foreign words.

    [Footnote 5: _Chair_ is the Norman-French form of the French
    _chaise_. The Germans still call a chair a _stuhl_; and among the
    English, _stool_ was the universal name till the twelfth century.]

35. +Losses of English from the Incoming of Norman-French.+-- (ii) The
arrestment of growth in the purely English part of our language, owing
to the irruption of Norman-French, and also to the ease with which we
could take a ready-made word from Latin or from Greek, killed off an old
power which we once possessed, and which was not without its own use and
expressiveness. This was the power of making compound words. The Greeks
in ancient times had, and the Germans in modern times have, this power
in a high degree. Thus a Greek comic poet has a word of fourteen
syllables, which may be thus translated--


And the Germans have a compound like “the-all-to-nothing-crushing
philosopher.” The Germans also say _iron-path_ for _railway_, _handshoe_
for _glove_, and _finger-hat_ for _thimble_. We also possessed this
power at one time, and employed it both in proper and in common names.
Thus we had and have the names _Brakespear_, _Shakestaff_, _Shakespear_,
_Golightly_, _Dolittle_, _Standfast_; and the common nouns _want-wit_,
_find-fault_, _mumble-news_ (for _tale-bearer_), _pinch-penny_ (for
_miser_), _slugabed_. In older times we had _three-foot-stool_,
_three-man-beetle_[7]; _stone-cold_, _heaven-bright_, _honey-sweet_,
_snail-slow_, _nut-brown_, _lily-livered_ (for _cowardly_);
_brand-fire-new_; _earth-wandering_, _wind-dried_, _thunder-blasted_,
_death-doomed_, and many others. But such words as _forbears_ or
_fore-elders_ have been pushed out by _ancestors_; _forewit_ by
_caution_ or _prudence_; and _inwit_ by _conscience_. Mr Barnes, the
Dorsetshire poet, would like to see these and similar compounds
restored, and thinks that we might well return to the old clear
well-springs of “English undefiled,” and make our own compounds out of
our own words. He even carries his desires into the region of English
grammar, and, for _degrees of comparison_, proposes the phrase _pitches
of suchness_. Thus, instead of the Latin word _omnibus_, he would have
_folk-wain_; for the Greek _botany_, he would substitute _wort-lore_;
for _auction_, he would give us _bode-sale_; _globule_ he would replace
with _ballkin_; the Greek word _horizon_ must give way to the pure
English _sky-edge_; and, instead of _quadrangle_, he would have us all
write and say _four-winkle_.

    [Footnote 6: In two words, a _fig-shower_ or _sycophant_.]

    [Footnote 7: A club for beating clothes, that could be handled
    only by three men.]

36. +Losses of English from the Incoming of Norman-French.+-- (iii) When
once a way was made for the entrance of French words into our English
language, the immigrations were rapid and numerous. Hence there were
many changes both in the grammar and in the vocabulary of English from
the year 1100, the year in which we may suppose those Englishmen who
were living at the date of the battle of Hastings had died out. These
changes were more or less rapid, according to circumstances. But perhaps
the most rapid and remarkable change took place in the lifetime of
William Caxton, the great printer, who was born in 1410. In his preface
to his translation of the ‘Æneid’ of Virgil, which he published in 1490,
when he was eighty years of age, he says that he cannot understand old
books that were written when he was a boy-- that “the olde Englysshe is
more lyke to dutche than englysshe,” and that “our langage now vsed
varyeth ferre from that whiche was vsed and spoken when I was borne. For
we Englysshemen ben borne ynder the domynacyon of the mone [moon], which
is neuer stedfaste, but euer wauerynge, wexynge one season, and waneth
and dycreaseth another season.” This as regards time. --But he has the
same complaint to make as regards place. “Comyn englysshe that is spoken
in one shyre varyeth from another.” And he tells an odd story in
illustration of this fact. He tells about certain merchants who were in
a ship “in Tamyse” (on the Thames), who were bound for Zealand, but were
wind-stayed at the Foreland, and took it into their heads to go on shore
there. One of the merchants, whose name was Sheffelde, a mercer, entered
a house, “and axed for mete, and specyally he axyd after eggys.” But the
“goode-wyf” replied that she “coude speke no frenshe.” The merchant, who
was a steady Englishman, lost his temper, “for he also coude speke no
frenshe, but wolde have hadde eggys; and she understode hym not.”
Fortunately, a friend happened to join him in the house, and he acted as
interpreter. The friend said that “he wolde have eyren; then the goode
wyf sayde that she understod hym wel.” And then the simple-minded but
much-perplexed Caxton goes on to say: “Loo! what sholde a man in thyse
dayes now wryte, eggës or eyren?” Such were the difficulties that beset
printers and writers in the close of the fifteenth century.

37. +Latin of the Fourth Period.+-- (i) This contribution differs very
essentially in character from the last. The Norman-French contribution
was a gift from a people to a people-- from living beings to living
beings; this new contribution was rather a conveyance of words from
books to books, and it never influenced-- in any great degree-- the
+spoken language+ of the English people. The ear and the mouth carried
the Norman-French words into our language; the eye, the pen, and the
printing-press were the instruments that brought in the Latin words of
the Fourth Period. The Norman-French words that came in took and kept
their place in the spoken language of the masses of the people; the
Latin words that we received in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
kept their place in the written or printed language of books, of
scholars, and of literary men. These new Latin words came in with the
+Revival of Learning+, which is also called the +Renascence+.

The Turks attacked and took Constantinople in the year +1453+; and the
great Greek and Latin scholars who lived in that city hurriedly packed
up their priceless manuscripts and books, and fled to all parts of
Italy, Germany, France, and even into England. The loss of the East
became the gain of the West. These scholars became teachers; they taught
the Greek and Roman classics to eager and earnest learners; and thus a
new impulse was given to the study of the great masterpieces of human
thought and literary style. And so it came to pass in course of time
that every one who wished to become an educated man studied the
literature of Greece and Rome. Even women took to the study. Lady Jane
Grey was a good Greek and Latin scholar; and so was Queen Elizabeth.
From this time began an enormous importation of Latin words into our
language. Being imported by the eye and the pen, they suffered little or
no change; the spirit of the people did not influence them in the
least-- neither the organs of speech nor the ear affected either the
pronunciation or the spelling of them. If we look down the columns of
any English dictionary, we shall find these later Latin words in
hundreds. _Opinionem_ became +opinion+; _factionem_, +faction+;
_orationem_, +oration+; _pungentem_ passed over in the form of +pungent+
(though we had _poignant_ already from the French); _pauperem_ came in
as +pauper+; and _separatum_ became +separate+.

38. +Latin of the Fourth Period.+-- (ii) This went on to such an extent
in the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, that one
writer says of those who spoke and wrote this Latinised English, “If
some of their mothers were alive, they were not able to tell what they
say.” And Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) remarks: “If elegancy (= the use
of Latin words) still proceedeth, and English pens maintain that stream
we have of late observed to flow from many, we shall, within a few
years, be fain to learn Latin to understand English, and a work will
prove of equal facility in either.” Mr Alexander Gill, an eminent
schoolmaster, and the then head-master of St Paul’s School, where, among
his other pupils, he taught John Milton, wrote a book in 1619 on the
English language; and, among other remarks, he says: “O harsh lips!
I now hear all around me such words as _common_, _vices_, _envy_,
_malice_; even _virtue_, _study_, _justice_, _pity_, _mercy_,
_compassion_, _profit_, _commodity_, _colour_, _grace_, _favour_,
_acceptance_. But whither, I pray, in all the world, have you banished
those words which our forefathers used for these new-fangled ones? Are
our words to be executed like our citizens?” And he calls this fashion
of using Latin words “the new mange in our speaking and writing.” But
the fashion went on growing; and even uneducated people thought it a
clever thing to use a Latin instead of a good English word. Samuel
Rowlands, a writer in the seventeenth century, ridicules this
affectation in a few lines of verse. He pretends that he was out walking
on the highroad, and met a countryman who wanted to know what o’clock it
was, and whether he was on the right way to the town or village he was
making for. The writer saw at once that he was a simple bumpkin; and,
when he heard that he had lost his way, he turned up his nose at the
poor fellow, and ordered him to be off at once. Here are the lines:--

  “As on the way I itinerated,
  A rural person I obviated,
  Interrogating time’s transitation,
  And of the passage demonstration.
  My apprehension did ingenious scan
  That he was merely a simplician;
  So, when I saw he was extravagánt,
  Unto the óbscure vulgar consonánt,
  I bade him vanish most promiscuously,
  And not contaminate my company.”

39. +Latin of the Fourth Period.+-- (iii) What happened in the case of
the Norman-French contribution, happened also in this. The language
became saturated with these new Latin words, until it became satiated,
then, as it were, disgusted, and would take no more. Hundreds of

  “Long-tailed words in _osity_ and _ation_”

crowded into the English language; but many of them were doomed
to speedy expulsion. Thus words like _discerptibility_,
_supervacaneousness_, _septentrionality_, _ludibundness_ (love of
sport), came in in crowds. The verb _intenerate_ tried to turn out
_soften_; and _deturpate_ to take the place of _defile_. But good
writers, like Bacon and Raleigh, took care to avoid the use of such
terms, and to employ only those Latin words which gave them the power to
indicate a new idea-- a new meaning or a new shade of meaning. And when
we come to the eighteenth century, we find that a writer like Addison
would have shuddered at the very mention of such “inkhorn terms.”

40. +Eye-Latin and Ear-Latin.+-- (i) One slight influence produced by
this spread of devotion to classical Latin-- to the Latin of Cicero and
Livy, of Horace and Virgil-- was to alter the spelling of French words.
We had already received-- through the ear-- the French words _assaute_,
_aventure_, _defaut_, _dette_, _vitaille_, and others. But when our
scholars became accustomed to the book-form of these words in Latin
books, they gradually altered them-- for the eye and ear-- into
_assault_, _adventure_, _default_, _debt_, and _victuals_. They went
further. A large number of Latin words that already existed in the
language in their Norman-French form (for we must not forget that French
is Latin “with the ends bitten off”-- changed by being spoken peculiarly
and heard imperfectly) were reintroduced in their original Latin form.
Thus we had +caitiff+ from the Normans; but we reintroduced it in the
shape of +captive+, which comes almost unaltered from the Latin
_captivum_. +Feat+ we had from the Normans; but the Latin _factum_,
which provided the word, presented us with a second form of it in the
word +fact+. Such words might be called +Ear-Latin+ and +Eye-Latin+;
+Mouth-Latin+ and +Book-Latin+; +Spoken Latin+ and +Written Latin+;
or Latin at second-hand and Latin at first-hand.

41. +Eye-Latin and Ear-Latin.+-- (ii) This coming in of the same word by
two different doors-- by the Eye and by the Ear-- has given rise to the
phenomenon of +Doublets+. The following is a list of +Latin Doublets+;
and it will be noticed that Latin1 stands for Latin at first-hand-- from
books; and Latin2 for Latin at second-hand-- through the Norman-French.


  LATIN.                        LATIN1.      LATIN2.

  Antecessorem                  Antecessor   Ancestor.
  Benedictionem                 Benediction  Benison.
  Cadentia (Low Lat. noun)      Cadence      Chance.
  Captivum                      Captive      Caitiff.
  Conceptionem                  Conception   Conceit.
  Consuetudinem                 Consuetude  {Custom.
  Cophinum                      Coffin       Coffer.
  Corpus (a body)               Corpse       Corps.
  Debitum (something owed)      Debit        Debt.
  Defectum (something wanting)  Defect       Defeat.
  Dilatāre                      Dilate       Delay.
  Exemplum                      Example      Sample.
  Fabrĭca (a workshop)          Fabric       Forge.
  Factionem                     Faction      Fashion.
  Factum                        Fact         Feat.
  Fidelitatem                   Fidelity     Fealty.
  Fragilem                      Fragile      Frail.
  Gentīlis                      Gentile      Gentle.
    (belonging to a _gens_ or family)
  Historia                      History      Story.
  Hospitale                     Hospital     Hotel.
  Lectionem                     Lection      Lesson.
  Legalem                       Legal        Loyal.
  Magister                      Master       Mr.
  Majorem (greater)             Major        Mayor.
  Maledictionem                 Malediction  Malison.
  Moneta                        Mint         Money.
  Nutrimentum                   Nutriment    Nourishment.
  Orationem                     Oration      Orison (a prayer).
  Paganum                       Pagan        Payne (a proper name).
    (a dweller in a _pagus_ or country district)
  Particulam (a little part)    Particle     Parcel.
  Pauperem                      Pauper       Poor.
  Penitentiam                   Penitence    Penance.
  Persecutum                    Persecute    Pursue.
  Potionem (a draught)          Potion       Poison.
  Pungentem                     Pungent      Poignant.
  Quietum                       Quiet        Coy.
  Radius                        Radius       Ray.
  Regālem                       Regal        Royal.
  Respectum                     Respect      Respite.
  Securum                       Secure       Sure.
  Seniorem                      Senior       Sir.
  Separatum                     Separate     Sever.
  Species                       Species      Spice.
  Statum                        State        Estate.
  Tractum                       Tract        Trait.
  Traditionem                   Tradition    Treason.
  Zelosum                       Zealous      Jealous.

42. +Remarks on the above Table.+ --The word +benison+, a blessing, may
be contrasted with its opposite, +malison+, a curse. --+Cadence+ is the
falling of sounds; +chance+ the befalling of events. --A +caitiff+ was
at first a _captive_-- then a person who made no proper defence, but
_allowed_ himself to be taken captive. --A +corps+ is a _body_ of
troops. --The word +sample+ is found, in older English, in the form of
+ensample+. --A +feat+ of arms is a deed or +fact+ of arms, _par
excellence_. --To understand how +fragile+ became +frail+, we must
pronounce the +g+ hard, and notice how the hard guttural falls easily
away-- as in our own native words _flail_ and _hail_, which formerly
contained a hard +g+. --A +major+ is a _greater_ captain; a +mayor+ is a
greater _magistrate_. --A +magister+ means a _bigger man_-- as opposed
to a +minister+ (from _minus_), a smaller man. --+Moneta+ was the name
given to a stamped coin, because these coins were first struck in the
temple of Juno Moneta, Juno the Adviser or the Warner. (From the same
root-- +mon+-- come _monition_, _admonition_; _monitor_; _admonish_.)
--Shakespeare uses the word +orison+ freely for _prayer_, as in the
address of Hamlet to Ophelia, where he says, “Nymph, in thy orisons, be
all my sins remembered!” --+Poor+ comes to us from an Old French word
_poure_; the newer French is _pauvre_. --To understand the vanishing of
the +g+ sound in _poignant_, we must remember that the Romans sounded it
always hard. --+Sever+ we get through _separate_, because +p+ and +v+
are both labials, and therefore easily interchangeable. --+Treason+--
with its +s+ instead of +ti+-- may be compared with +benison+,
+malison+, +orison+, +poison+, and +reason+.

43. +Conclusions from the above Table.+-- If we examine the table on
page 231 with care, we shall come to several undeniable conclusions.
(i) First, the words which come to us direct from Latin are found more
in books than in everyday speech. (ii) Secondly, they are longer. The
reason is that the words that have come through French have been worn
down by the careless pronunciation of many generations-- by that desire
for ease in the pronouncing of words which characterises all languages,
and have at last been compelled to take that form which was least
difficult to pronounce. (iii) Thirdly, the two sets of words have, in
each case, either (_a_) very different meanings, or (_b_) different
shades of meaning. There is no likeness of meaning in _cadence_ and
_chance_, except the common meaning of _fall_ which belongs to the root
from which they both spring. And the different shades of meaning between
+history+ and +story+, between +regal+ and +royal+, between +persecute+
and +pursue+, are also quite plainly marked, and are of the greatest use
in composition.

44. +Latin Triplets.+-- Still more remarkable is the fact that there are
in our language words that have made three appearances-- one through
Latin, one through Norman-French, and one through ordinary French. These
seem to live quietly side by side in the language; and no one asks by
what claim they are here. They are useful: that is enough. These
triplets are-- +regal+, +royal+, and +real+; +legal+, +loyal+, and
+leal+; +fidelity+, +faithfulness+,[8] and +fealty+. The adjective real
we no longer possess in the sense of _royal_, but Chaucer uses it; and
it still exists in the noun +real-m+. +Leal+ is most used in Scotland,
where it has a settled abode in the well-known phrase “the land o’ the

    [Footnote 8: The word _faith_ is a true French word with an
    English ending-- the ending +th+. Hence it is a hybrid. The old
    French word was _fei_-- from the Latin _fidem_; and the ending
    +th+ was added to make it look more like _truth_, _wealth_,
    _health_, and other purely English words.]

45. +Greek Doublets.+-- The same double introduction, which we noticed
in the case of Latin words, takes place in regard to Greek words. It
seems to have been forgotten that our English forms of them had been
already given us by St Augustine and the Church, and a newer form of
each was reintroduced. The following are a few examples:--

  GREEK.                         OLDER FORM.       LATER FORM.

  Adamanta[9] (the untameable)   Diamond           Adamant.
  Balsamon                       Balm              Balsam.
  Blasphēmein (to speak ill of)  Blame             Blaspheme.
  Cheirourgon[9]                 Chirurgeon        Surgeon.
    (a worker with the hand)
  Dactŭlon (a finger)            Date (the fruit)  Dactyl.
  Phantasia                      Fancy             Phantasy.
  Phantasma (an appearance)      Phantom           Phantasm.
  Presbuteron (an elder)         Priest            Presbyter.
  Paralysis                      Palsy             Paralysis.
  Scandălon                      Slander           Scandal.

    [Footnote 9: The accusative or objective case is given in all
    these words.]

It may be remarked of the word _fancy_, that, in Shakespeare’s time,
it meant _love_ or _imagination_--

  “Tell me, where is _fancy_ bred,
  Or in the heart, or in the head?”

It is now restricted to mean a lighter and less serious kind of
imagination. Thus we say that Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ is a work of
imagination; but that Moore’s ‘Lalla Rookh’ is a product of the poet’s

46. +Characteristics of the Two Elements of English.+-- If we keep our
attention fixed on the two chief elements in our language-- the English
element and the Latin element-- the Teutonic and the Romance-- we shall
find some striking qualities manifest themselves. We have already said
that whole sentences can be made containing only English words, while it
is impossible to do this with Latin or other foreign words. Let us take
two passages-- one from a daily newspaper, and the other from

  (i) “We find the _functions_ of such an _official_ _defined_ in the
  _Act_. He is to be a _legally_ _qualified_ _medical_ _practitioner_
  of skill and _experience_, to _inspect_ and _report_ _periodically_
  on the _sanitary_ _condition_ of town or _district_; to _ascertain_
  the _existence_ of _diseases_, more _especially_ _epidemics_
  _increasing_ the _rates_ of _mortality_, and to _point_ out the
  _existence_ of any _nuisances_ or other _local_ _causes_, which are
  likely to _originate_ and _maintain_ such _diseases_, and
  _injuriously_ _affect_ the health of the _inhabitants_ of such town
  or _district_; to take _cognisance_ of the _existence_ of any
  _contagious_ _disease_, and to point out the most _efficacious_
  _means_ for the _ventilation_ of _chapels_, _schools_, _registered_
  _lodging_-houses, and other _public_ buildings.”

In this passage, all the words in italics are either Latin or Greek.
But, if the purely English words were left out, the sentence would fall
into ruins-- would become a mere rubbish-heap of words. It is the small
particles that give life and motion to each sentence. They are the
joints and hinges on which the whole sentence moves. --Let us now look
at a passage from Shakespeare. It is from the speech of Macbeth, after
he has made up his mind to murder Duncan:--

  (ii) “Go bid thy _mistress_, when my drink is ready,
        She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed!--
        Is this a dagger which I see before me,
        The handle toward my hand? Come! let me clutch thee!
        --I have thee not; and yet I see thee still.”

In this passage there is only one Latin (or French) word-- the word
_mistress_. If Shakespeare had used the word +lady+, the passage would
have been entirely English. --The passage from the newspaper deals with
large +generalisations+; that from Shakespeare with individual +acts+
and +feelings+-- with things that come +home+ “to the business and
bosom” of man as man. Every master of the English language understands
well the art of mingling the two elements-- so as to obtain a fine
effect; and none better than writers like Shakespeare, Milton, Gray, and
Tennyson. Shakespeare makes Antony say of Cleopatra:--

  “Age cannot wither her; nor _custom_ stale
  Her infinite _variety_.”

Here the French (or Latin) words _custom_ and _variety_ form a vivid
contrast to the English verb _stale_, throw up its meaning and colour,
and give it greater prominence. --Milton makes Eve say:--

                              “I thither went
  With _inexperienc’d_ thought, and laid me down
  On the green bank, to look into the _clear_
  Smooth _lake_, that to me seem’d another sky.”

Here the words _inexperienced_ and _clear_ give variety to the sameness
of the English words. --Gray, in the Elegy, has this verse:--

  “The breezy call of _incense_-breathing morn,
    The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
  The cock’s shrill _clarion_ or the _echoing_ horn,
    No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.”

Here _incense_, _clarion_, and _echoing_ give a vivid colouring to the
plainer hues of the homely English phrases. --Tennyson, in the
Lotos-Eaters, vi., writes:--

  “Dear is the _memory_ of our wedded lives,
  And dear the last _embraces_ of our wives
  And their warm tears: but all hath _suffer’d_ _change_;
  For _surely_ now our household hearths are cold:
  Our sons _inherit_ us: our looks are _strange_:
  And we should come like ghosts to _trouble_ _joy_.”

Most powerful is the introduction of the French words _suffered change_,
_inherit_, _strange_, and _trouble joy_; for they give with painful
force the contrast of the present state of desolation with the homely
rest and happiness of the old abode, the love of the loving wives, the
faithfulness of the stalwart sons.

47. +English and other Doublets.+-- We have already seen how, by the
presentation of the same word at two different doors-- the door of Latin
and the door of French-- we are in possession of a considerable number
of doublets. But this phenomenon is not limited to Latin and French-- is
not solely due to the contributions we receive from these languages. We
find it also +within+ English itself; and causes of the most different
description bring about the same results. For various reasons, the
English language is very rich in doublets. It possesses nearly five
hundred pairs of such words. The language is all the richer for having
them, as it is thereby enabled to give fuller and clearer expression to
the different shades and delicate varieties of meaning in the mind.

48. +The sources of doublets+ are various. But five different causes
seem chiefly to have operated in producing them. They are due to
differences of +pronunciation+; to differences in +spelling+; to
+contractions+ for convenience in daily speech; to differences in
+dialects+; and to the fact that many of them come from +different
languages+. Let us look at a few examples of each. At bottom, however,
all these differences will be found to resolve themselves into
+differences of pronunciation+. They are either differences in the
pronunciation of the same word by different tribes, or by men in
different counties, who speak different dialects; or by men of different

49. +Differences in Pronunciation.+-- From this source we have +parson+
and +person+ (the parson being the _person_ or representative of the
Church); +sop+ and +soup+; +task+ and +tax+ (the +sk+ has here become
+ks+); +thread+ and +thrid+; +ticket+ and +etiquette+; +sauce+ and
+souse+ (to steep in brine); +squall+ and +squeal+.

50. +Differences in Spelling.+-- +To+ and +too+ are the same word-- one
being used as a preposition, the other as an adverb; +of+ and +off+,
+from+ and +fro+, are only different spellings, which represent
different functions or uses of the same word; +onion+ and +union+ are
the same word. An +union+[10] comes from the Latin +unus+, one, and it
meant a large single pearl-- a unique jewel; the word was then applied
to the plant, the head of which is of a pearl-shape.

    [Footnote 10: In Hamlet v. 2. 283, Shakespeare makes the King say--

        “The King shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath;
        And in the cup an union shall he throw.”]

51. +Contractions.+-- Contraction has been a pretty fruitful source of
doublets in English. A long word has a syllable or two cut off; or two
or three are compressed into one. Thus +example+ has become +sample+;
+alone+ appears also as +lone+; +amend+ has been shortened into +mend+;
+defend+ has been cut down into +fend+ (as in +fender+); +manœuvre+ has
been contracted into +manure+ (both meaning originally to work with the
hand); +madam+ becomes +’m+ in +yes ’m+[11]; and +presbyter+ has been
squeezed down into +priest+.[12] Other examples of contraction are:
+capital+ and +cattle+; +chirurgeon+ (a worker with the hand) and
+surgeon+; +cholera+ and +choler+ (from chŏlos, the Greek word for
_bile_); +disport+ and +sport+; +estate+ and +state+; +esquire+ and
+squire+; +Egyptian+ and +gipsy+; +emmet+ and +ant+; +gammon+ and
+game+; +grandfather+ and +gaffer+; +grandmother+ and +gammer+; +iota+
(the Greek letter +i+) and +jot+; +maximum+ and +maxim+; +mobile+ and
+mob+; +mosquito+ and +musket+; +papa+ and +pope+; +periwig+ and +wig+;
+poesy+ and +posy+; +procurator+ and +proctor+; +shallop+ and +sloop+;
+unity+ and +unit+. It is quite evident that the above pairs of words,
although in reality one, have very different meanings and uses.

    [Footnote 11: Professor Max Müller gives this as the most
    remarkable instance of cutting down. The Latin _mea domina_ became
    in French _madame_; in English _ma’am_; and, in the language of
    servants, _’m_.]

    [Footnote 12: Milton says, in one of his sonnets--

        “New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.”

    From the etymological point of view, the truth is just the other
    way about. _Priest_ is old _Presbyter_ writ small.]

52. +Difference of English Dialects.+-- Another source of doublets is to
be found in the dialects of the English language. Almost every county in
England has its own dialect; but three main dialects stand out with
great prominence in our older literature, and these are the +Northern+,
the +Midland+, and the +Southern+. The grammar of these dialects[13] was
different; their pronunciation of words was different-- and this has
given rise to a splitting of one word into two. In the North, we find a
hard +c+, as in the _caster_ of +Lancaster+; in the Midlands, a soft
+c+, as in +Leicester+; in the South, a +ch+, as in +Winchester+. We
shall find similar differences of hardness and softness in ordinary
words. Thus we find +kirk+ and +church+; +canker+ and +cancer+; +canal+
and +channel+; +deck+ and +thatch+; +drill+ and +thrill+; +fan+ and
+van+ (in a winnowing-machine); +fitch+ and +vetch+; +hale+ and +whole+;
+mash+ and +mess+; +naught+, +nought+, and +not+; +pike+, +peak+, and
+beak+; +poke+ and +pouch+; +quid+ (a piece of tobacco for chewing) and
+cud+ (which means the thing _chewed_); +reave+ and +rob+; +ridge+ and
+rig+; +scabby+ and +shabby+; +scar+ and +share+; +screech+ and
+shriek+; +shirt+ and +skirt+; +shuffle+ and +scuffle+; +spray+ and
+sprig+; +wain+ and +waggon+-- and other pairs. All of these are but
different modes of pronouncing the same word in different parts of
England; but the genius of the language has taken advantage of these
different +ways of pronouncing+ to make different +words+ out of them,
and to give them different functions, meanings, and uses.

    [Footnote 13: See p. 242.]



1. +The Oldest English Synthetic.+-- The oldest English, or Anglo-Saxon,
that was brought over here in the fifth century, was a language that
showed the relations of words to each other by adding different endings
to words, or by +synthesis+. These endings are called +inflexions+.
Latin and Greek are highly inflected languages; French and German have
many more inflexions than modern English; and ancient English (or
Anglo-Saxon) also possessed a large number of inflexions.

2. +Modern English Analytic.+-- When, instead of inflexions, a language
employs small particles-- such as prepositions, auxiliary verbs, and
suchlike words-- to express the relations of words to each other, such a
language is called +analytic+ or +non-inflexional+. When we say, as we
used to say in the oldest English, “God is ealra cyninga cyning,” we
speak a synthetic language. But when we say, “God is king _of_ all
kings,” then we employ an analytic or uninflected language.

3. +Short View of the History of English Grammar.+-- From the time when
the English language came over to this island, it has grown steadily in
the number of its words. On the other hand, it has lost just as steadily
in the number of its inflexions. Put in a broad and somewhat rough
fashion, it may be said that--

  (i) +Up to the year 1100-- one generation after the Battle of Senlac--
  the English language was a+ SYNTHETIC +Language.+

  (ii) +From the year 1100 or thereabouts, English has been losing its
  inflexions, and gradually becoming more and more an ANALYTIC

4. +Causes of this Change.+-- Even before the coming of the Danes and
the Normans, the English people had shown a tendency to get rid of some
of their inflexions. A similar tendency can be observed at the present
time among the Germans of the Rhine Province, who often drop an +n+ at
the end of a word, and show in other respects a carelessness about
grammar. But, when a foreign people comes among natives, such a tendency
is naturally encouraged, and often greatly increased. The natives
discover that these inflexions are not so very important, if only they
can get their meaning rightly conveyed to the foreigners. Both parties,
accordingly, come to see that the +root+ of the word is the most
important element; they stick to that, and they come to neglect the mere
inflexions. Moreover, the accent in English words always struck the
root; and hence this part of the word always fell on the ear with the
greater force, and carried the greater weight. When the Danes-- who
spoke a cognate language-- began to settle in England, the tendency to
drop inflexions increased; but when the Normans-- who spoke an entirely
different language-- came, the tendency increased enormously, and the
inflexions of Anglo-Saxon began to “fall as the leaves fall” in the dry
wind of a frosty October. Let us try to trace some of these changes and

5. +Grammar of the First Period, 450-1100.+-- The English of this period
is called the +Oldest English+ or +Anglo-Saxon+. The gender of nouns was
arbitrary, or-- it may be-- poetical; it did not, as in modern English
it does, follow the sex. Thus +nama+, a name, was masculine; +tunge+,
a tongue, feminine; and +eáge+, an eye, neuter. Like _nama_, the proper
names of men ended in _a_; and we find such names as Isa, Offa, Penda,
as the names of kings. Nouns at this period had five cases, with
inflexions for each; now we possess but one inflexion-- that for the
possessive. --Even the definite article was inflected. --The infinitive
of verbs ended in +an+; and the sign _to_-- which we received from the
Danes-- was not in use, except for the dative of the infinitive. This
dative infinitive is still preserved in such phrases as “a house to
let;” “bread to eat;” “water to drink.” --The present participle ended
in +ende+ (in the North +ande+). This present participle may be said
still to exist-- in spoken, but not in written speech; for some people
regularly say _walkin_, _goin_, for _walking_ and _going_. --The plural
of the present indicative ended in +ath+ for all three persons. In the
perfect tense, the plural ending was +on+. --There was no future tense;
the work of the future was done by the present tense. Fragments of this
usage still survive in the language, as when we say, “He goes up to town
next week.” --Prepositions governed various cases; and not always the
objective (or accusative), as they do now.

6. +Grammar of the Second Period, 1100-1250.+-- The English of this
period is called +Early English+. Even before the coming of the Normans,
the inflexions of our language had-- as we have seen-- begun to drop
off, and it was slowly on the way to becoming an analytic language. The
same changes-- the same simplification of grammar, has taken place in
nearly every Low German language. But the coming of the Normans hastened
these changes, for it made the inflexional endings of words of much less
practical importance to the English themselves. --Great changes took
place in the pronunciation also. The hard +c+ or +k+ was softened into
+ch+; and the hard guttural +g+ was refined into a +y+ or even into a
silent +w+. --A remarkable addition was made to the language. The Oldest
English or Anglo-Saxon had no indefinite article. They said _ofer stán_
for _on_ a _rock_. But, as the French have made the article +un+ out of
the Latin +unus+, so the English pared down the northern +ane+ (= +one+)
into the article +an+ or +a+. The Anglo-Saxon definite article was +se+,
+seo+, +þaet+; and in the grammar of this Second Period it became +þe+,
+þeo+, +þe+. --The French plural in +es+ took the place of the English
plural in +en+. But _housen_ and _shoon_ existed for many centuries
after the Norman coming; and Mr Barnes, the Dorsetshire poet, still
deplores the ugly sound of _nests_ and _fists_, and would like to be
able to say and to write _nesten_ and _fisten_. --The dative plural,
which ended in +um+, becomes an +e+ or an +en+. The +um+, however, still
exists in the form of +om+ in +seldom+ (= at few times) and +whilom+
(= in old times). --The gender of nouns falls into confusion, and begins
to show a tendency to follow the sex. --Adjectives show a tendency to
drop several of their inflexions, and to become as serviceable and
accommodating as they are now-- when they are the same with all numbers,
genders, and cases. --The +an+ of the infinitive becomes +en+, and
sometimes even the +n+ is dropped. --+Shall+ and +will+ begin to be used
as tense-auxiliaries for the future tense.

7. +Grammar of the Third Period, 1250-1350.+-- The English of this
period is often called +Middle English+. --The definite article still
preserves a few inflexions. --Nouns that were once masculine or feminine
become neuter, for the sake of convenience. --The possessive in +es+
becomes general. --Adjectives make their plural in +e+. --The infinitive
now takes +to+ before it-- except after a few verbs, like _bid_, _see_,
_hear_, etc. --The present participle in +inge+ makes its appearance
about the year 1300.

8. +Grammar of the Fourth Period, 1350-1485.+-- This may be called
+Later Middle English+. An old writer of the fourteenth century points
out that, in his time-- and before it-- the English language was
“a-deled a thre,” divided into three; that is, that there were three
main dialects, the +Northern+, the +Midland+, and the +Southern+. There
were many differences in the grammar of these dialects; but the chief of
these differences is found in the plural of the present indicative of
the verb. This part of the verb formed its plurals in the following

  We hopës      We hopen      We hopeth.
  You hopës     You hopen     You hopeth.
  They hopës    They hopen    They hopeth.[14]

In time the Midland dialect conquered; and the East Midland form of it
became predominant all over England. As early as the beginning of the
thirteenth century, this dialect had thrown off most of the old
inflexions, and had become almost as flexionless as the English of the
present day. Let us note a few of the more prominent changes. --The
first personal pronoun +Ic+ or +Ich+ loses the guttural, and becomes
+I+. --The pronouns +him+, +them+, and +whom+, which are true datives,
are used either as datives or as objectives. --The imperative plural
ends in +eth+. “Riseth up,” Chaucer makes one of his characters say,
“and stondeth by me!” --The useful and almost ubiquitous letter +e+
comes in as a substitute for +a+, +u+, and even +an+. Thus +nama+
becomes +name+, +sunu+ (son) becomes +sune+, and +withutan+ changes into
+withute+. --The dative of adjectives is used as an adverb. Thus we find
+softë+, +brightë+ employed like our +softly+, +brightly+. --The +n+ in
the infinitive has fallen away; but the +ë+ is sounded as a separate
syllable. Thus we find +brekë+, +smitë+ for _breken_ and _smiten_.

    [Footnote 14: This plural we still find in the famous Winchester
    motto, “Manners maketh man.”]

9. +General View.+-- In the time of King Alfred, the West-Saxon speech--
the Wessex dialect-- took precedence of the rest, and became the
literary dialect of England. But it had not, and could not have, any
influence on the spoken language of other parts of England, for the
simple reason that very few persons were able to travel, and it took
days-- and even weeks-- for a man to go from Devonshire to Yorkshire. In
course of time the Midland dialect-- that spoken between the Humber and
the Thames-- became the predominant dialect of England; and the East
Midland variety of this dialect became the parent of modern standard
English. This predominance was probably due to the fact that it, soonest
of all, got rid of its inflexions, and became most easy, pleasant, and
convenient to use. And this disuse of inflexions was itself probably due
to the early Danish settlements in the east, to the larger number of
Normans in that part of England, to the larger number of thriving towns,
and to the greater and more active communication between the eastern
seaports and the Continent. The inflexions were first confused, then
weakened, then forgotten, finally lost. The result was an extreme
simplification, which still benefits all learners of the English
language. Instead of spending a great deal of time on the learning of a
large number of inflexions, which are to them arbitrary and meaningless,
foreigners have only to fix their attention on the words and phrases
themselves, that is, on the very pith and marrow of the language--
indeed, on the language itself. Hence the great German grammarian Grimm,
and others, predict that English will spread itself all over the world,
and become the universal language of the future. In addition to this
almost complete sweeping away of all inflexions,-- which made Dr Johnson
say, “Sir, the English language has no grammar at all,”-- there were
other remarkable and useful results which accrued from the coming in of
the Norman-French and other foreign elements.

10. +Monosyllables.+-- The stripping off of the inflexions of our
language cut a large number of words down to the root. Hundreds, if not
thousands, of our verbs were dissyllables, but, by the gradual loss of
the ending +en+ (which was in Anglo-Saxon +an+), they became
monosyllables. Thus +bindan+, +drincan+, +findan+, became +bind+,
+drink+, +find+; and this happened with hosts of other verbs. Again, the
expulsion of the guttural, which the Normans never could or would take
to, had the effect of compressing many words of two syllables into one.
Thus +haegel+, +twaegen+, and +faegen+, became +hail+, +twain+, and
+fain+. --In these and other ways it has come to pass that the present
English is to a very large extent of a monosyllabic character. So much
is this the case, that whole books have been written for children in
monosyllables. It must be confessed that the monosyllabic style is often
dull, but it is always serious and homely. We can find in our
translation of the Bible whole verses that are made up of words of only
one syllable. Many of the most powerful passages in Shakespeare, too,
are written in monosyllables. The same may be said of hundreds of our
proverbs-- such as, “Cats hide their claws”; “Fair words please fools”;
“He that has most time has none to lose.” Great poets, like Tennyson and
Matthew Arnold, understand well the fine effect to be produced from the
mingling of short and long words-- of the homely English with the more
ornate Romance language. In the following verse from Matthew Arnold the
words are all monosyllables, with the exception of _tired_ and
_contention_ (which is Latin):--

  “Let the long contention cease;
  Geese are swans, and swans are geese;
  Let them have it how they will,
  Thou art tired. Best be still!”

In Tennyson’s “Lord of Burleigh,” when the sorrowful husband comes to
look upon his dead wife, the verse runs almost entirely in

  “And he came to look upon her,
    And he looked at her, and said:
  ‘Bring the dress, and put it on her,
    That she wore when she was wed.’”

An American writer has well indicated the force of the English
monosyllable in the following sonnet:--

  “Think not that strength lies in the big, _round_ word,
    Or that the _brief_ and _plain_ must needs be weak.
  To whom can this be true who once has heard
    The cry for help, the tongue that all men speak,
  When want, or fear, or woe, is in the throat,
    So that each word gasped out is like a shriek
  _Pressed_ from the sore heart, or a _strange_, wild _note_
    Sung by some _fay_ or fiend! There is a strength,
  Which dies if stretched too far, or spun too fine,
    Which has more height than breadth, more depth than length;
  Let but this _force_ of thought and speech be mine,
    And he that will may take the sleek fat _phrase_,
  Which glows but burns not, though it beam and shine;
    Light, but no heat,-- a flash, but not a blaze.”

It will be observed that this sonnet consists entirely of monosyllables,
and yet that the style of it shows considerable power and vigour. The
words printed in italics are all derived from Latin, with the exception
of the word _phrase_, which is Greek.

11. +Change in the Order of Words.+-- The syntax-- or order of words--
of the oldest English was very different from that of Norman-French. The
syntax of an Old English sentence was clumsy and involved; it kept the
attention long on the strain; it was rumbling, rambling, and unpleasant
to the ear. It kept the attention on the strain, because the verb in a
subordinate clause was held back, and not revealed till we had come to
the end of the clause. Thus the Anglo-Saxon wrote (though in different
form and spelling)--

  “When Darius saw, that he overcome be would.”

The newer English, under French influence, wrote--

  “When Darius saw that he was going to be overcome.”

This change has made an English sentence lighter and more easy to
understand, for the reader or hearer is not kept waiting for the verb;
but each word comes just when it is expected, and therefore in its
“natural” place. The Old English sentence-- which is very like the
German sentence of the present day-- has been compared to a heavy cart
without springs, while the newer English sentence is like a modern
well-hung English carriage. Norman-French, then, gave us a brighter,
lighter, freer rhythm, and therefore a sentence more easy to understand
and to employ, more supple, and better adapted to everyday use.

12. +The Expulsion of Gutturals.+-- (i) Not only did the Normans help us
to an easier and pleasanter kind of sentence, they aided us in getting
rid of the numerous throat-sounds that infested our language. It is a
remarkable fact that there is not now in the French language a single
guttural. There is not an +h+ in the whole language. The French _write_
an +h+ in several of their words, but they never sound it. Its use is
merely to serve as a fence between two vowels-- to keep two vowels
separate, as in _la haine_, hatred. No doubt the Normans could utter
throat-sounds well enough when they dwelt in Scandinavia; but, after
they had lived in France for several generations, they acquired a great
dislike to all such sounds. No doubt, too, many, from long disuse, were
unable to give utterance to a guttural. This dislike they communicated
to the English; and hence, in the present day, there are many people--
especially in the south of England-- who cannot sound a guttural at all.
The muscles in the throat that help to produce these sounds have become
atrophied-- have lost their power for want of practice. The purely
English part of the population, for many centuries after the Norman
invasion, could sound gutturals quite easily-- just as the Scotch and
the Germans do now; but it gradually became the fashion in England to
leave them out.

13. +The Expulsion of Gutturals.+-- (ii) In some cases the guttural
disappeared entirely; in others, it was changed into or represented by
other sounds. The +ge+ at the beginning of the passive (or past)
participles of many verbs disappeared entirely. Thus +gebróht+,
+gebóht+, +geworht+, became +brought+, +bought+, and +wrought+. The +g+
at the beginning of many words also dropped off. Thus +Gyppenswich+
became +Ipswich+; +gif+ became +if+; +genoh+, +enough+. --The guttural
at the end of words-- hard +g+ or +c+-- also disappeared. Thus +halig+
became +holy+; +eordhlic+, +earthly+; +gastlic+, +ghastly+ or +ghostly+.
The same is the case in +dough+, +through+, +plough+, etc. --the
guttural appearing to the eye but not to the ear. --Again, the guttural
was changed into quite different sounds-- into labials, into sibilants,
into other sounds also. The following are a few examples:--

(_a_) The guttural has been softened, through Norman-French influence,
into a +sibilant+. Thus +rigg+, +egg+, and +brigg+ have become +ridge+,
+edge+, and +bridge+.

(_b_) The guttural has become a +labial+-- +f+-- as in +cough+,
+enough+, +trough+, +laugh+, +draught+, etc.

(_c_) The guttural has become an additional syllable, and is represented
by a +vowel-sound+. Thus +sorg+ and +mearh+ have become +sorrow+ and

(_d_) In some words it has disappeared both to eye and ear. Thus +makëd+
has become +made+.

14. +The Story of the GH.+-- How is it, then, that we have in so many
words the two strongest gutturals in the language-- +g+ and +h+-- not
only separately, in so many of our words, but combined? The story is an
odd one. Our Old English or Saxon scribes wrote-- not +light+, +might+,
and +night+, but +liht+, +miht+, and +niht+. When, however, they found
that the Norman-French gentlemen would not sound the +h+, and say-- as
is still said in Scotland-- _li+ch+t_, &c., they redoubled the guttural,
strengthened the +h+ with a hard +g+, and again presented the dose to
the Norman. But, if the Norman could not sound the +h+ alone, still less
could he sound the double guttural; and he very coolly let both alone--
ignored both. The Saxon scribe doubled the signs for his guttural, just
as a farmer might put up a strong wooden fence in front of a hedge; but
the Norman cleared both with perfect ease and indifference. And so it
came to pass that we have the symbol +gh+ in more than seventy of our
words, and that in most of these we do not sound it at all. The +gh+
remains in our language, like a moss-grown boulder, brought down into
the fertile valley in a glacial period, when gutturals were both spoken
and written, and men believed in the truthfulness of letters-- but now
passed by in silence and noticed by no one.

15. +The Letters that represent Gutturals.+-- The English guttural has
been quite Protean in the written or printed forms it takes. It appears
as an +i+, as a +y+, as a +w+, as a +ch+, as a +dge+, as a +j+, and-- in
its more native forms-- as a +g+, a +k+, or a +gh+. The following words
give all these forms: ha+i+l, da+y+, fo+w+l, tea+ch+, e+dge+, a+j+ar,
dra+g+, truc+k+, and trou+gh+. Now _hail_ was _hagol_, _day_ was _daeg_,
_fowl_ was _fugol_, _teach_ was _taecan_, _edge_ was _egg_, _ajar_ was
_achar_. In +seek+, +beseech+, +sought+-- which are all different forms
of the same word-- we see the guttural appearing in three different
forms-- as a hard +k+, as a soft +ch+, as an unnoticed +gh+. In +think+
and +thought+, +drink+ and +draught+, +sly+ and +sleight+, +dry+ and
+drought+, +slay+ and +slaughter+, it takes two different forms. In
+dig+, +ditch+, and +dike+-- which are all the same word in different
shapes-- it again takes three forms. In +fly+, +flew+, and +flight+,
it appears as a +y+, a +w+, and a +gh+. But, indeed, the manners of a
guttural, its ways of appearing and disappearing, are almost beyond

16. +Grammatical Result of the Loss of Inflexions.+-- When we look at a
Latin or French or German word, we know whether it is a verb or a noun
or a preposition by its mere appearance-- by its face or by its dress,
so to speak. But the loss of inflexions which has taken place in the
English language has resulted in depriving us of this advantage-- if
advantage it is. Instead of +looking+ at the +face+ of a word in
English, we are obliged to +think+ of its +function+,-- that is, of what
it does. We have, for example, a large number of words that are both
nouns and verbs-- we may use them as the one or as the other; and, till
we have used them, we cannot tell whether they are the one or the other.
Thus, when we speak of “a +cut+ on the finger,” +cut+ is a +noun+,
because it is a name; but when we say, “Harry cut his finger,” then
+cut+ is a +verb+, because it tells something about Harry. Words like
+bud+, +cane+, +cut+, +comb+, +cap+, +dust+, +fall+, +fish+, +heap+,
+mind+, +name+, +pen+, +plaster+, +punt+, +run+, +rush+, +stone+, and
many others, can be used either as +nouns+ or as +verbs+. Again, +fast+,
+quick+, and +hard+ may be used either as +adverbs+ or as +adjectives+;
and +back+ may be employed as an +adverb+, as a +noun+, and even as an
+adjective+. Shakespeare is very daring in the use of this licence. He
makes one of his characters say, “But me no buts!” In this sentence, the
first _but_ is a +verb+ in the imperative mood; the second is a +noun+
in the objective case. Shakespeare uses also such verbs as _to glad_,
_to mad_, such phrases as _a seldom pleasure_, and _the fairest she_.
Dr Abbott says, “In Elizabethan English, almost any part of speech can
be used as any other part of speech. An adverb can be used as a verb,
‘they _askance_ their eyes’; as a noun, ‘the _backward_ and abysm of
time’; or as an adjective, ‘a seldom pleasure.’ Any noun, adjective, or
neuter verb can be used as an active verb. You can ‘happy’ your friend,
‘malice’ or ‘fool’ your enemy, or ‘fall’ an axe upon his neck.” Even in
modern English, almost any noun can be used as a verb. Thus we can say,
“to _paper_ a room”; “to _water_ the horses”; “to _black-ball_ a
candidate”; to “_iron_ a shirt” or “a prisoner”; “to _toe_ the line.” On
the other hand, verbs may be used as nouns; for we can speak of a
_work_, of a beautiful _print_, of a long _walk_, and so on.



1. +Vocabulary and Grammar.+-- The oldest English or Anglo-Saxon differs
from modern English both in vocabulary and in grammar-- in the words it
uses and in the inflexions it employs. The difference is often
startling. And yet, if we look closely at the words and their dress, we
shall most often find that the words which look so strange are the very
words with which we are most familiar-- words that we are in the habit
of using every day; and that it is their dress alone that is strange and
antiquated. The effect is the same as if we were to dress a modern man
in the clothes worn a thousand years ago: the chances are that we should
not be able to recognise even our dearest friend.

2. +A Specimen from Anglo-Saxon.+-- Let us take as an example a verse
from the Anglo-Saxon version of one of the Gospels. The well-known
verse, Luke ii. 40, runs thus in our oldest English version:--

  Sóþlíce ðaet cild weox, and waes gestrangod, wisdómes full; and
  Godes gyfu waes on him.

Now this looks like an extract from a foreign language; but it is not:
it is our own veritable mother-tongue. Every word is pure ordinary
English; it is the dress-- the spelling and the inflexions-- that is
quaint and old-fashioned. This will be plain from a literal

  Soothly that child waxed, and was strengthened, wisdoms full (= full
  of wisdom); and God’s gift was on him.

3. +A Comparison.+-- This will become plainer if we compare the English
of the Gospels as it was written in different periods of our language.
The alteration in the meanings of words, the changes in the application
of them, the variation in the use of phrases, the falling away of the
inflexions-- all these things become plain to the eye and to the mind as
soon as we thoughtfully compare the different versions. The following
are extracts from the Anglo-Saxon version (995), the version of Wycliffe
(1389) and of Tyndale (1526), of the passage in Luke ii. 44, 45:--


  Wéndon ðaet he on heora gefére wáere, ðá comon hig ánes daeges faer,
  and hine sóhton betweox his magas and his cúðan.

    Forsothe thei gessinge him to be in the felowschipe, camen the wey
    of á day, and souȝten him among his cosyns and knowen.

      For they supposed he had bene in the company, they cam a days
      iorney, and sought hym amonge their kynsfolke and acquayntaunce.

  Ða hig hyne ne fúndon, hig gewendon to Hierusalem, hine sécende.

    And thei not fyndinge, wenten aȝen to Jerusalem, sekynge him.

      And founde hym not, they went backe agayne to Hierusalem,
      and sought hym.

The literal translation of the Anglo-Saxon version is as follows:--

  (They) weened that he on their companionship were (= was), when came
  they one day’s faring, and him sought betwixt his relations and his
  couth (folk = acquaintances).

  When they him not found, they turned to Jerusalem, him seeking.

4. +The Lord’s Prayer.+-- The same plan of comparison may be applied to
the different versions of the Lord’s Prayer that have come down to us;
and it will be seen from this comparison that the greatest changes have
taken place in the grammar, and especially in that part of the grammar
which contains the inflexions.



  Fader ure, þe art on heofone.
    Fadir ur, that es in hevene,
      Our Fadir, that art in hevenys,
        Our Father which art in heaven;

  Sy gebletsod name þin,
    Halud thi nam to nevene;
      Halewid be thi name;
        Halowed be thy name;

  Cume þin rike.
    Thou do as thi rich rike;
      Thi kingdom come to;
        Let thy kingdom come;

  Si þin wil swa swa on heofone and on eorþan.
    Thi will on erd be wrought, eek as it is wrought in heven ay.
      Be thi wil done in erthe, as in hevene.
        Thy will be fulfilled as well in earth as it is in heven.

  Breod ure degwamlich geof us to daeg.
    Ur ilk day brede give us to day.
      Give to us this day oure breed ovir othir _substaunce_,
        Geve us this day ur dayly bred,

  And forgeof us ageltes ura swa swa we forgeofen agiltendum urum.
    Forgive thou all us dettes urs, als we forgive till ur detturs.
      And forgive to us our _dettis_, as we forgiven to oure
        And forgeve us oure dettes as we forgeve ur detters.

  And ne led us on costunge.
    And ledde us in na fandung.
      And lede us not into _temptacioun_;
        And leade us not into temptation,

  Ac alys us fram yfele. Swa beo hit.
    But sculd us fra ivel thing. Amen.
      But _delyvere_ us from yvel. Amen.
        But delyver us from evyll. For thyne is the kyngdom, and the
        power, and the glorye, for ever. Amen.

It will be observed that Wycliffe’s version contains five Romance
terms-- _substaunce_, _dettis_, _dettouris_, _temptacioun_, and

5. +Oldest English and Early English.+-- The following is a short
passage from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, under date 1137: first, in the
Anglo-Saxon form; second, in Early English, or-- as it has sometimes
been called-- Broken Saxon; third, in modern English. The breaking-down
of the grammar becomes still more strikingly evident from this close

    (i) Hí      swencton       Þá  wreccan menn
   (ii) Hí      swencten       the  wrecce  men
  (iii) They swinked (harassed) the wretched men

    (i) Þaes landes mid castel-weorcum.
   (ii) Of-the-land mid castel-weorces.
  (iii) Of the land with castle-works.

    (i)  Ða  Þá  castelas waeron gemacod,
   (ii) Tha  the castles  waren   maked,
  (iii) When the castles  were    made,

    (i) Þá   fyldon  hí   hí  mid  yfelum mannum.
   (ii) thá  fylden  hi   hi  mid  yvele   men.
  (iii) then filled they them with  evil   men.

6. +Comparisons of Words and Inflexions.+-- Let us take a few of the
most prominent words in our language, and observe the changes that have
fallen upon them since they made their appearance in our island in the
fifth century. These changes will be best seen by displaying them in


  heom.         to heom.           to hem.            to them.
  seó.          heó.               ho, scho.          she.
  sweostrum.    to the swestres.   to the swistren.   to the sisters.
  geboren.      gebore.            iboré.             born.
  lufigende.    lufigend.          lovand.            loving.
  weoxon.       woxen.             wexide.            waxed.

7. +Conclusions from the above Comparisons.+-- We can now draw several
conclusions from the comparisons we have made of the passages given from
different periods of the language. These conclusions relate chiefly to
verbs and nouns; and they may become useful as a KEY to enable us to
judge to what period in the history of our language a passage presented
to us must belong. If we find such and such marks, the language is
Anglo-Saxon; if other marks, it is Early English; and so on.

    II.-- MARKS OF EARLY ENGLISH (1100-1250).
      III.-- MARKS OF MIDDLE ENGLISH (1250-1485).


  Infinitive in +an+.
    Infin. in +en+ or +e+.
      Infin. with +to+ (the +en+ was dropped about 1400).

  Pres. part. in +ende+.
    Pres. part. in +ind+.
      Pres. part. in +inge+.

  Past part. with +ge+.
    +ge+ of past part. turned into +i+ or +y+.

  3d plural pres. in +ath+.
  3d plural past in +on+.
    3d plural in +en+.
      3d plural in +en+.

  Plural of imperatives in +ath+.
      Imperative in +eth+.


  Plurals in +an+, +as+, or +a+.
    Plural in +es+.
      Plurals in +es+ (separate syllable).

  Dative plural in +um+.
    Dative plural in +es+.

      Possessives in +es+ (separate syllable).

8. +The English of the Thirteenth Century.+-- In this century there was
a great breaking-down and stripping-off of inflexions. This is seen in
the +Ormulum+ of Orm, a canon of the Order of St Augustine, whose
English is nearly as flexionless as that of Chaucer, although about a
century and a half before him. Orm has also the peculiarity of always
doubling a consonant after a short vowel. Thus, in his introduction,
he says:--

  “Þiss boc iss nemmnedd Orrmulum
  Forr þi þatt Orrm itt wrohhte.”

That is, “This book is named Ormulum, for the (reason) that Orm wrought
it.” The absence of inflexions is probably due to the fact that the book
is written in the East-Midland dialect. But, in a song called “The Story
of Genesis and Exodus,” written about 1250, we find a greater number of
inflexions. Thus we read:--

  “Hunger wex in lond Chanaan;
  And his x sunes Jacob for-ðan
  Sente in to Egypt to bringen coren;
  He bilefe at hom ðe was gungest boren.”

That is, “Hunger waxed (increased) in the land of Canaan; and Jacob for
that (reason) sent his ten sons into Egypt to bring corn: he remained at
home that was youngest born.”

9. +The English of the Fourteenth Century.+-- The four greatest writers
of the fourteenth century are-- in verse, +Chaucer+ and +Langlande+; and
in prose, +Mandeville+ and +Wycliffe+. The inflexions continue to drop
off; and, in Chaucer at least, a larger number of French words appear.
Chaucer also writes in an elaborate verse-measure that forms a striking
contrast to the homely rhythms of Langlande. Thus, in the “Man of Lawes
Tale,” we have the verse:--

  “O queenës, lyvynge in prosperitée,
  Duchessës, and ladyës everichone,
  Haveth som routhe on hir adversitée;
  An emperourës doughter stant allone;
  She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
  O blood roial! that stondest in this dredë
  Fer ben thy frendës at thy gretë nedë!”

Here, with the exception of the imperative in _Haveth som routhe_
(= have some pity), _stant_, and _ben_ (= _are_), the grammar of Chaucer
is very near the grammar of to-day. How different this is from the
simple English of Langlande! He is speaking of the great storm of wind
that blew on January 15, 1362:--

  “Piries and Plomtres   weore passchet to þe grounde,
  In ensaumple to Men   þat we scholde do þe bettre,
  Beches and brode okes   weore blowen to þe eorþe.”

Here it is the spelling of Langlande’s English that differs most from
modern English, and not the grammar. --Much the same may be said of the
style of Wycliffe (1324-1384) and of Mandeville (1300-1372). In
Wycliffe’s version of the Gospel of Mark, v. 26, he speaks of a woman
“that hadde suffride many thingis of ful many lechis (doctors), and
spendid alle hir thingis; and no-thing profitide.” Sir John Mandeville’s
English keeps many old inflexions and spellings; but is, in other
respects, modern enough. Speaking of Mahomet, he says: “And ȝee schulle
understonds that Machamete was born in Arabye, that was first a pore
knave that kept cameles, that wenten with marchantes for marchandise.”
_Knave_ for boy, and _wenten_ for went are the two chief differences--
the one in the use of words, the other in grammar-- that distinguish
this piece of Mandeville’s English from our modern speech.

10. +The English of the Sixteenth Century.+-- This, which is also called
Tudor-English, differs as regards grammar hardly at all from the English
of the nineteenth century. This becomes plain from a passage from one of
Latimer’s sermons (1490-1555), “a book which gives a faithful picture of
the manners, thoughts, and events of the period.” “My father,” he
writes, “was a yeoman, and had no lands of his own, only he had a farm
of three or four pound a year at the uttermost, and hereupon he tilled
so much as kept half a dozen men. He had walk for a hundred sheep; and
my mother milked thirty kine.” In this passage, it is only the
old-fashionedness, homeliness, and quaintness of the English-- not its
grammar-- that makes us feel that it was not written in our own times.
When Ridley, the fellow-martyr of Latimer, stood at the stake, he said,
“I commit our cause to Almighty God, which shall indifferently judge
all.” Here he used _indifferently_ in the sense of _impartially_-- that
is, in the sense of _making no difference between parties_; and this is
one among a very large number of instances of Latin words, when they had
not been long in our language, still retaining the older Latin meaning.

11. +The English of the Bible+ (i).-- The version of the Bible which we
at present use was made in 1611; and we might therefore suppose that it
is written in seventeenth-century English. But this is not the case. The
translators were commanded by James I. to “follow the Bishops’ Bible”;
and the Bishops’ Bible was itself founded on the “Great Bible,” which
was published in 1539. But the Great Bible is itself only a revision of
Tyndale’s, part of which appeared as early as 1526. When we are reading
the Bible, therefore, we are reading English of the sixteenth century,
and, to a large extent, of the early part of that century. It is true
that successive generations of printers have, of their own accord,
altered the spelling, and even, to a slight extent, modified the
grammar. Thus we have _fetched_ for the older _fet_, _more_ for _moe_,
_sown_ for _sowen_, _brittle_ for _brickle_ (which gives the connection
with _break_), _jaws_ for _chaws_, _sixth_ for _sixt_, and so on. But we
still find such participles as _shined_ and _understanded_; and such
phrases as “they can skill to hew timber” (1 Kings v. 6), “abjects” for
_abject persons_, “three days agone” for _ago_, the “captivated Hebrews”
for “the captive Hebrews,” and others.

12. +The English of the Bible+ (ii).-- We have, again, old words
retained, or used in the older meaning. Thus we find, in Psalm v. 6, the
phrase “them that speak leasing,” which reminds us of King Alfred’s
expression about “leasum spellum” (lying stories). _Trow_ and _ween_ are
often found; the “champaign over against Gilgal” (Deut. xi. 30) means
the _plain_; and a publican in the New Testament is a tax-gatherer, who
sent to the Roman Treasury or Publicum the taxes he had collected from
the Jews. An “ill-favoured person” is an ill-looking person; and
“bravery” (Isa. iii. 18) is used in the sense of finery in dress. --Some
of the oldest grammar, too, remains, as in Esther viii. 8, “Write ye, as
it liketh you,” where the _you_ is a dative. Again, in Ezek. xxx. 2, we
find “Howl ye, Woe worth the day!” where the imperative _worth_ governs
_day_ in the dative case. This idiom is still found in modern verse, as
in the well-known lines in the first canto of the “Lady of the Lake”:--

  “Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day
  That cost thy life, my gallant grey!”



1. +Grammar Fixed.+-- From the date of 1485-- that is, from the
beginning of the reign of Henry VII.-- the changes in the grammar or
constitution of our language are so extremely small, that they are
hardly noticeable. Any Englishman of ordinary education can read a book
belonging to the latter part of the fifteenth or to the sixteenth
century without difficulty. Since that time the grammar of our language
has hardly changed at all, though we have altered and enlarged our
vocabulary, and have adopted thousands of new words. The introduction of
Printing, the Revival of Learning, the Translation of the Bible, the
growth and spread of the power to read and write-- these and other
influences tended to fix the language and to keep it as it is to-day. It
is true that we have dropped a few old-fashioned endings, like the +n+
or +en+ in _silvern_ and _golden_; but, so far as form or grammar is
concerned, the English of the sixteenth and the English of the
nineteenth centuries are substantially the same.

2. +New Words.+-- But, while the grammar of English has remained the
same, the vocabulary of English has been growing, and growing rapidly,
not merely with each century, but with each generation. The discovery of
the New World in 1492 gave an impetus to maritime enterprise in England,
which it never lost, brought us into connection with the Spaniards, and
hence contributed to our language several Spanish words. In the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Italian literature was largely
read; Wyatt and Surrey show its influence in their poems; and Italian
words began to come in in considerable numbers. Commerce, too, has done
much for us in this way; and along with the article imported, we have in
general introduced also the name it bore in its own native country. In
later times, Science has been making rapid strides-- has been bringing
to light new discoveries and new inventions almost every week; and along
with these new discoveries, the language has been enriched with new
names and new terms. Let us look a little more closely at the character
of these foreign contributions to the vocabulary of our tongue.

3. +Spanish Words.+-- The words we have received from the Spanish
language are not numerous, but they are important. In addition to the
ill-fated word +armada+, we have the Spanish for _Mr_, which is +Don+
(from Lat. _dominus_, a lord), with its feminine +Duenna+. They gave us
also +alligator+, which is our English way of writing _el lagarto_, the
lizard. They also presented us with a large number of words that end in
+o+-- such as +buffalo+, +cargo+, +desperado+, +guano+, +indigo+,
+mosquito+, +mulatto+, +negro+, +potato+, +tornado+, and others. The
following is a tolerably full list:--

  Galleon (a ship).
  Sherry (= Xeres).

4. +Italian Words.+-- Italian literature has been read and cultivated in
England since the time of Chaucer-- since the fourteenth century; and
the arts and artists of Italy have for many centuries exerted a great
deal of influence on those of England. Hence it is that we owe to the
Italian language a large number of words. These relate to poetry, such
as +canto+, +sonnet+, +stanza+; to music, as +pianoforte+, +opera+,
+oratorio+, +soprano+, +alto+, +contralto+; to architecture and
sculpture, as +portico+, +piazza+, +cupola+, +torso+; and to painting,
as +studio+, +fresco+ (an open-air painting), and others. The following
is a complete list:--


5. +Dutch Words.+-- We have had for many centuries commercial dealings
with the Dutch; and as they, like ourselves, are a great seafaring
people, they have given us a number of words relating to the management
of ships. In the fourteenth century, the southern part of the German
Ocean was the most frequented sea in the world; and the chances of
plunder were so great that ships of war had to keep cruising up and down
to protect the trading vessels that sailed between England and the Low
Countries. The following are the words which we owe to the

  Schiedam (gin).
  Wear (said of a ship).

6. +French Words.+-- Besides the large additions to our language made by
the Norman-French, we have from time to time imported direct from France
a number of French words, without change in the spelling, and with
little change in the pronunciation. The French have been for centuries
the most polished nation in Europe; from France the changing fashions in
dress spread over all the countries of the Continent; French literature
has been much read in England since the time of Charles II.; and for a
long time all diplomatic correspondence between foreign countries and
England was carried on in French. Words relating to manners and customs
are common, such as +soirée+, +etiquette+, +séance+, +élite+; and we
have also the names of things which were invented in France, such as
+mitrailleuse+, +carte-de-visite+, +coup d’état+, and others. Some of
these words are, in spelling, exactly like English; and advantage of
this has been taken in a well-known epigram:--

  The French have taste in all they do,
    Which we are quite without;
  For Nature, which to them gave goût,[15]
    To us gave only gout.

The following is a list of French words which have been imported in
comparatively recent times:--


The Scotch have always had a closer connection with the French nation
than England; and hence we find in the Scottish dialect of English a
number of French words that are not used in South Britain at all. A leg
of mutton is called in Scotland a +gigot+; the dish on which it is laid
is an +ashet+ (from _assiette_); a cup for tea or for wine is a +tassie+
(from _tasse_); the gate of a town is called the +port+; and a stubborn
person is +dour+ (Fr. _dur_, from Lat. _durus_); while a gentle and
amiable person is +douce+ (Fr. _douce_, Lat. _dulcis_).

    [Footnote 15: _Goût_ (goo) from Latin _gustus_, taste.]

7. +German Words.+-- It must not be forgotten that English is a
Low-German dialect, while the German of books is New High-German. We
have never borrowed directly from High-German, because we have never
needed to borrow. Those modern German words that have come into our
language in recent times are chiefly the names of minerals, with a few
striking exceptions, such as +loafer+, which came to us from the German
immigrants to the United States, and +plunder+, which seems to have been
brought from Germany by English soldiers who had served under Gustavus
Adolphus. The following are the German words which we have received in
recent times:--


8. +Hebrew Words.+-- These, with very few exceptions, have come to us
from the translation of the Bible, which is now in use in our homes and
churches. +Abbot+ and +abbey+ come from the Hebrew word +abba+, father;
and such words as +cabal+ and +Talmud+, though not found in the Old
Testament, have been contributed by Jewish literature. The following is
a tolerably complete list:--


9. +Other Foreign Words.+-- The English have always been the greatest
travellers in the world; and our sailors always the most daring,
intelligent, and enterprising. There is hardly a port or a country in
the world into which an English ship has not penetrated; and our
commerce has now been maintained for centuries with every people on the
face of the globe. We exchange goods with almost every nation and tribe
under the sun. When we import articles or produce from abroad, we in
general import the native name along with the thing. Hence it is that we
have +guano+, +maize+, and +tomato+ from the two Americas; +coffee+,
+cotton+, and +tamarind+ from Arabia; +tea+, +congou+, and +nankeen+
from China; +calico+, +chintz+, and +rupee+ from Hindostan; +bamboo+,
+gamboge+, and +sago+ from the Malay Peninsula; +lemon+, +musk+, and
+orange+ from Persia; +boomerang+ and +kangaroo+ from Australia;
+chibouk+, +ottoman+, and +tulip+ from Turkey. The following are lists
of these foreign words; and they are worth examining with the greatest




  Jerked (beef).


  (The word _al_ means _the_. Thus _alcohol_ = _the spirit_.)

  Admiral (Milton writes _ammiral_).
  Koran (or Alcoran).
  Shrub (the drink).




  Lac (of rupees).






  Lac (a gum).
  Lime (the fruit).




  Port (= Oporto).







10. +Scientific Terms.+-- A very large number of discoveries in science
have been made in this century; and a large number of inventions have
introduced these discoveries to the people, and made them useful in
daily life. Thus we have _telegraph_ and _telegram_; _photograph_;
_telephone_ and even _photophone_. The word _dynamite_ is also modern;
and the unhappy employment of it has made it too widely known. Then
passing fashions have given us such words as _athlete_ and _æsthete_.
In general, it may be said that, when we wish to give a name to a new
thing-- a new discovery, invention, or fashion-- we have recourse not to
our own stores of English, but to the vocabularies of the Latin and
Greek languages.


[Transcriber’s Note:

In the original book, the following chart was laid out much like a
typical table of contents, with the +date+ in a separate column along
the right edge. It has been reformatted for this e-text. The date is
repeated in brackets where appropriate.]

  1. +The Beowulf+, an old English epic, “written on the mainland”

  2. +Christianity+ introduced by St Augustine (and with it many Latin
  and a few Greek words)

  3. +Caedmon+-- ‘Paraphrase of the Scriptures,’-- first English poem

  4. +Baeda+-- “The Venerable Bede”-- translated into English part of
  St John’s Gospel

  5. +King Alfred+ translated several Latin works into English, among
  others, Bede’s ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation’

  6. +Aelfric+, Archbishop of York, turned into English most of the
  historical books of the Old Testament

  7. +The Norman Conquest+, which introduced Norman French words

  8. +Anglo-Saxon Chronicle+, said to have been begun by King Alfred,
  and brought to a close in [1160]

  9. +Orm+ or +Orrmin’s Ormulum+, a poem written in the East Midland
  dialect, about [1200]

  10. +Normandy+ lost under King John. Norman-English now have their
  only home in England, and use our English speech more and more

  11. +Layamon+ translates the ‘Brut’ from the French of Robert Wace.
  This is the first English book (written in _Southern English_) after
  the stoppage of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

  12. +The Ancren Riwle+ (“Rules for Anchorites”) written in the
  Dorsetshire dialect. “It is the forerunner of a wondrous change in
  our speech.” “It swarms with French words”

  13. +First Royal Proclamation in English+, issued by Henry III.

  14. +Robert of Gloucester’s+ Chronicle (swarms with foreign terms)

  15. +Robert Manning+, “Robert of Brunn,” compiles the ‘Handlyng
  Synne.’ “It contains a most copious proportion of French words”

  16. +Ayenbite of Inwit+ (= “Remorse of Conscience”)

  17. +The Great Plague+. After this it becomes less and less the
  fashion to speak French

  18. +Sir John Mandeville+, first writer of the newer English Prose--
  in his ‘Travels,’ which contained a large admixture of French words.
  “His English is the speech spoken at Court in the latter days of
  King Edward III.”

  19. +English+ becomes the language of the Law Courts

  20. +Wickliffe’s+ Bible

  21. +Geoffrey Chaucer+, the first great English poet, author of the
  ‘Canterbury Tales’; born in 1340, died [1400]

  22. +William Caxton+, the first English printer, brings out (in the
  Low Countries) the first English book ever printed, the ‘Recuyell of
  the Historyes of Troye,’-- “not written with pen and ink, as other
  books are, to the end that every man may have them at once”

  23. +First English Book+ printed in England (by Caxton) the ‘Game
  and Playe of the Chesse’

  24. +Lord Berners’+ translation of Froissart’s Chronicle

  25. +William Tyndale+, by his translation of the Bible “fixed our
  tongue once for all.” “His New Testament has become the standard of
  our tongue: the first ten verses of the Fourth Gospel are a good
  sample of his manly Teutonic pith”

  26. +Edmund Spenser+ publishes his ‘Faerie Queene.’ “Now began the
  golden age of England’s literature; and this age was to last for
  about fourscore years”

  27. +Our English Bible+, based chiefly on Tyndale’s translation.
  “Those who revised the English Bible in 1611 were bidden to keep as
  near as they could to the old versions, such as Tyndale’s”

  28. +William Shakespeare+ carried the use of the English language
  to the greatest height of which it was capable. He employed 15,000
  words. “The last act of ‘Othello’ is a rare specimen of
  Shakespeare’s diction: of every five nouns, verbs, and adverbs, four
  are Teutonic”    (+Born 1564+)

  29. +John Milton+, “the most learned of English poets,” publishes
  his ‘Paradise Lost,’-- “a poem in which Latin words are introduced
  with great skill”

  30. +The Prayer-Book+ revised and issued in its final form. “_Are_
  was substituted for _be_ in forty-three places. This was a great
  victory of the North over the South”

  31. +John Bunyan+ writes his ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’-- a book full of
  pithy English idiom. “The common folk had the wit at once to see the
  worth of Bunyan’s masterpiece, and the learned long afterwards
  followed in the wake of the common folk”    (+Born 1628+)

  32. +Sir Thomas Browne+, the author of ‘Urn-Burial’ and other works
  written in a highly Latinised diction, such as the ‘Religio Medici,’
  written [1642]

  33. +Dr Samuel Johnson+ was the chief supporter of the use of
  “long-tailed words in osity and ation,” such as his novel called
  ‘Rasselas,’ published [1759]

34. +Tennyson, Poet-Laureate+, a writer of the best English--
  “a countryman of Robert Manning’s, and a careful student of old
  Malory, has done much for the revival of pure English among
  us”    (+Born 1809+)





1. +Literature.+-- The history of English Literature is, in its external
aspect, an account of the best books in prose and in verse that have
been written by English men and English women; and this account begins
with a poem brought over from the Continent by our countrymen in the
fifth century, and comes down to the time in which we live. It covers,
therefore, a period of nearly fourteen hundred years.

2. +The Distribution of Literature.+-- We must not suppose that
literature has always existed in the form of printed books. Literature
is a living thing-- a living outcome of the living mind; and there are
many ways in which it has been distributed to other human beings. The
oldest way is, of course, by one person repeating a poem or other
literary composition he has made to another; and thus literature is
stored away, not upon book-shelves, but in the memory of living men.
Homer’s poems are said to have been preserved in this way to the Greeks
for five hundred years. Father chanted them to son; the sons to their
sons; and so on from generation to generation. The next way of
distributing literature is by the aid of signs called letters made upon
leaves, flattened reeds, parchment, or the inner bark of trees. The next
is by the help of writing upon paper. The last is by the aid of type
upon paper. This has existed in England for more than four hundred
years-- since the year 1474; and thus it is that our libraries contain
many hundreds of thousands of valuable books. For the same reason is it,
most probably, that as our power of retaining the substance and
multiplying the copies of books has grown stronger, our living memories
have grown weaker. This defect can be remedied only by education-- that
is, by training the memories of the young. While we possess so many
printed books, it must not be forgotten that many valuable works exist
still in manuscript-- written either upon paper or on parchment.

3. +Verse, the earliest form of Literature.+-- It is a remarkable fact
that the earliest kind of composition in all languages is in the form of
+Verse+. The oldest books, too, are those which are written in verse.
Thus Homer’s poems are the oldest literary work of Greece; the Sagas are
the oldest productions of Scandinavian literature; and the Beowulf is
the oldest piece of literature produced by the Anglo-Saxon race. It is
also from the strong creative power and the lively inventions of poets
that we are even now supplied with new thoughts and new language-- that
the most vivid words and phrases come into the language; just as it is
the ranges of high mountains that send down to the plains the ever fresh
soil that gives to them their unending fertility. And thus it happens
that our present English speech is full of words and phrases that have
found their way into the most ordinary conversation from the writings of
our great poets-- and especially from the writings of our greatest poet,
Shakespeare. The fact that the life of prose depends for its supplies on
the creative minds of poets has been well expressed by an American

  “I looked upon a plain of green,
    Which some one called the Land of Prose,
  Where many living things were seen
    In movement or repose.

  I looked upon a stately hill
    That well was named the Mount of Song,
  Where golden shadows dwelt at will,
    The woods and streams among.

  But most this fact my wonder bred
    (Though known by all the nobly wise),
  It was the mountain stream that fed
    That fair green plain’s amenities.”

4. +Our oldest English Poetry.+-- The verse written by our old English
writers was very different in form from the verse that appears now from
the hands of Tennyson, or Browning, or Matthew Arnold. The old English
or Anglo-Saxon writers used a kind of rhyme called +head-rhyme+ or
+alliteration+; while, from the fourteenth century downwards, our poets
have always employed +end-rhyme+ in their verses.

  “{L}ightly down {l}eaping he {l}oosened his helmet.”

Such was the rough old English form. At least three words in each long
line were alliterative-- two in the first half, and one in the second.
Metaphorical phrases were common, such as _war-adder_ for arrow,
_war-shirts_ for armour, _whale’s-path_ or _swan-road_ for the sea,
_wave-horse_ for a ship, _tree-wright_ for carpenter. Different
statements of the same fact, different phrases for the same thing-- what
are called +parallelisms+ in Hebrew poetry-- as in the line--

  “Then saw they the sea head-lands-- the windy walls,”

were also in common use among our oldest English poets.

5. +Beowulf.+-- The +Beowulf+ is the oldest poem in the English
language. It is our “old English epic”; and, like much of our ancient
verse, it is a war poem. The author of it is unknown. It was probably
composed in the fifth century-- not in England, but on the Continent--
and brought over to this island-- not on paper or on parchment-- but in
the memories of the old Jutish or Saxon vikings or warriors. It was not
written down at all, even in England, till the end of the ninth century,
and then, probably, by a monk of Northumbria. It tells among other
things the story of how Beowulf sailed from Sweden to the help of
Hrothgar, a king in Jutland, whose life was made miserable by a
monster-- half man, half fiend-- named Grendel. For about twelve years
this monster had been in the habit of creeping up to the banqueting-hall
of King Hrothgar, seizing upon his thanes, carrying them off, and
devouring them. Beowulf attacks and overcomes the dragon, which is
mortally wounded, and flees away to die. The poem belongs both to the
German and to the English literature; for it is written in a Continental
English, which is somewhat different from the English of our own island.
But its literary shape is, as has been said, due to a Christian writer
of Northumbria; and therefore its written or printed form-- as it exists
at present-- is not German, but English. Parts of this poem were often
chanted at the feasts of warriors, where all sang in turn as they sat
after dinner over their cups of mead round the massive oaken table. The
poem consists of 3184 lines, the rhymes of which are solely

6. +The First Native English Poem.+-- The Beowulf came to us from the
Continent; the first native English poem was produced in Yorkshire.
On the dark wind-swept cliff which rises above the little land-locked
harbour of +Whitby+, stand the ruins of an ancient and once famous
abbey. The head of this religious house was the Abbess Hild or Hilda:
and there was a secular priest in it,-- a very shy retiring man, who
looked after the cattle of the monks, and whose name was +Caedmon+. To
this man came the gift of song, but somewhat late in life. And it came
in this wise. One night, after a feast, singing began, and each of those
seated at the table was to sing in his turn. Caedmon was very nervous--
felt he could not sing. Fear overcame his heart, and he stole quietly
away from the table before the turn could come to him. He crept off to
the cowshed, lay down on the straw and fell asleep. He dreamed a dream;
and, in his dream, there came to him a voice: “Caedmon, sing me a song!”
But Caedmon answered: “I cannot sing; it was for this cause that I had
to leave the feast.” “But you must and shall sing!” “What must I sing,
then?” he replied. “Sing the beginning of created things!” said the
vision; and forthwith Caedmon sang some lines in his sleep, about God
and the creation of the world. When he awoke, he remembered some of the
lines that had come to him in sleep, and, being brought before Hilda, he
recited them to her. The Abbess thought that this wonderful gift, which
had come to him so suddenly, must have come from God, received him into
the monastery, made him a monk, and had him taught sacred history. “All
this Caedmon, by remembering, and, like a clean animal, ruminating,
turned into sweetest verse.” His poetical works consist of a metrical
paraphrase of the Old and the New Testament. It was written about the
year 670; and he died in 680. It was read and re-read in manuscript for
many centuries, but it was not printed in a book until the year 1655.

7. +The War-Poetry of England.+-- There were many poems about battles,
written both in Northumbria and in the south of England; but it was only
in the south that these war-songs were committed to writing; and of
these written songs there are only two that survive up to the present
day. These are the +Song of Brunanburg+, and the +Song of the Fight at
Maldon+. The first belongs to the date 938; the second to 991. The Song
of Brunanburg was inscribed in the SAXON CHRONICLE-- a current narrative
of events, written chiefly by monks, from the ninth century to the end
of the reign of Stephen. The song tells the story of the fight of King
Athelstan with Anlaf the Dane. It tells how five young kings and seven
earls of Anlaf’s host fell on the field of battle, and lay there
“quieted by swords,” while their fellow-Northmen fled, and left their
friends and comrades to “the screamers of war-- the black raven, the
eagle, the greedy battle-hawk, and the grey wolf in the wood.” The Song
of the Fight at Maldon tells us of the heroic deeds and death of
+Byrhtnoth+, an ealdorman of Northumbria, in battle against the Danes at
Maldon, in Essex. The speeches of the chiefs are given; the single
combats between heroes described; and, as in Homer, the names and
genealogies of the foremost men are brought into the verse.

8. +The First English Prose.+-- The first writer of English prose was
+Baeda+, or, as he is generally called, the +Venerable Bede+. He was
born in the year 672 at Monkwearmouth, a small town at the mouth of the
river Wear, and was, like Caedmon, a native of the kingdom of
Northumbria. He spent most of his life at the famous monastery of
Jarrow-on-Tyne. He spent his life in writing. His works, which were
written in Latin, rose to the number of forty-five; his chief work being
an +Ecclesiastical History+. But though Latin was the tongue in which he
wrote his books, he wrote one book in English; and he may therefore be
fairly considered the first writer of English prose. This book was a
+Translation of the Gospel of St John+-- a work which he laboured at
until the very moment of his death. His disciple Cuthbert tells the
story of his last hours. “Write quickly!” said Baeda to his scribe, for
he felt that his end could not be far off. When the last day came, all
his scholars stood around his bed. “There is still one chapter wanting,
Master,” said the scribe; “it is hard for thee to think and to speak.”
“It must be done,” said Baeda; “take thy pen and write quickly.” So
through the long day they wrote-- scribe succeeding scribe; and when the
shades of evening were coming on, the young writer looked up from his
task and said, “There is yet one sentence to write, dear Master.” “Write
it quickly!” Presently the writer, looking up with joy, said, “It is
finished!” “Thou sayest truth,” replied the weary old man; “it is
finished: all is finished.” Quietly he sank back upon his pillow, and,
with a psalm of praise upon his lips, gently yielded up to God his
latest breath. It is a great pity that this translation-- the first
piece of prose in our language-- is utterly lost. No MS. of it is at
present known to be in existence.

9. +The Father of English Prose.+-- For several centuries, up to the
year 866, the valleys and shores of Northumbria were the homes of
learning and literature. But a change was not long in coming. Horde
after horde of Danes swept down upon the coasts, ravaged the
monasteries, burnt the books-- after stripping the beautiful bindings of
the gold, silver, and precious stones which decorated them-- killed or
drove away the monks, and made life, property, and thought insecure all
along that once peaceful and industrious coast. Literature, then, was
forced to desert the monasteries of Northumbria, and to seek for a home
in the south-- in Wessex, the kingdom over which Alfred the Great
reigned for more than thirty years. The capital of Wessex was
Winchester; and an able writer says: “As Whitby is the cradle of English
poetry, so is Winchester of English prose.” King Alfred founded
colleges, invited to England men of learning from abroad, and presided
over a school for the sons of his nobles in his own Court. He himself
wrote many books, or rather, he translated the most famous Latin books
of his time into English. He translated into the English of Wessex, for
example, the ‘Ecclesiastical History’ of Baeda; the ‘History of
Orosius,’ into which he inserted geographical chapters of his own; and
the ‘Consolations of Philosophy,’ by the famous Roman writer, Boëthius.
In these books he gave to his people, in their own tongue, the best
existing works on history, geography, and philosophy.

10. +The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.+-- The greatest prose-work of the oldest
English, or purely Saxon, literature, is a work-- not by one person, but
by several authors. It is the historical work which is known as +The
Saxon Chronicle+. It seems to have been begun about the middle of the
ninth century; and it was continued, with breaks now and then, down to
1154-- the year of the death of Stephen and the accession of Henry II.
It was written by a series of successive writers, all of whom were
monks; but Alfred himself is said to have contributed to it a narrative
of his own wars with the Danes. The Chronicle is found in seven separate
forms, each named after the monastery in which it was written. It was
the newspaper, the annals, and the history of the nation. “It is the
first history of any Teutonic people in their own language; it is the
earliest and most venerable monument of English prose.” This Chronicle
possesses for us a twofold value. It is a valuable storehouse of
historical facts; and it is also a storehouse of specimens of the
different states of the English language-- as regards both words and
grammar-- from the eighth down to the twelfth century.

11. +Layamon’s Brut.+-- Layamon was a native of Worcestershire, and a
priest of Ernley on the Severn. He translated, about the year 1205,
a poem called +Brut+, from the French of a monkish writer named Master
Wace. Wace’s work itself is little more than a translation of parts of a
famous “Chronicle or History of the Britons,” written in Latin by
Geoffrey of Monmouth, who was Bishop of St Asaph in 1152. But Geoffrey
himself professed only to have translated from a chronicle in the
British or Celtic tongue, called the “Chronicle of the Kings of
Britain,” which was found in Brittany-- long the home of most of the
stories, traditions, and fables about the old British Kings and their
great deeds. Layamon’s poem called the “Brut” is a metrical chronicle of
Britain from the landing of Brutus to the death of King Cadwallader,
about the end of the seventh century. Brutus was supposed to be a
great-grandson of Æneas, who sailed west and west till he came to Great
Britain, where he settled with his followers. --This metrical chronicle
is written in the dialect of the West of England; and it shows
everywhere a breaking down of the grammatical forms of the oldest
English, as we find it in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. In fact, between
the landing of the Normans and the fourteenth century, two things may be
noted: first, that during this time-- that is, for three centuries-- the
inflections of the oldest English are gradually and surely stripped off;
and, secondly, that there is little or no original English literature
given to the country, but that by far the greater part consists chiefly
of translations from French or from Latin.

12. +Orm’s Ormulum.+-- Less than half a century after Layamon’s Brut
appeared a poem called the +Ormulum+, by a monk of the name of Orm or
Ormin. It was probably written about the year 1215. Orm was a monk of
the order of St Augustine, and his book consists of a series of
religious poems. It is the oldest, purest, and most valuable specimen of
thirteenth-century English, and it is also remarkable for its peculiar
spelling. It is written in the purest English, and not five French words
are to be found in the whole poem of twenty thousand short lines. Orm,
in his spelling, doubles every consonant that has a short vowel before
it; and he writes _pann_ for _pan_, but _pan_ for _pane_. The following
is a specimen of his poem:--

  Ice hafe wennd inntill Ennglissh
  Goddspelless hallghe lare,
  Affterr thatt little witt tatt me
  Min Drihhtin hafethth lenedd.

    I have wended (turned) into English
    Gospel’s holy lore,
    After the little wit that me
    My Lord hath lent.

Other famous writers of English between this time and the appearance of
Chaucer were +Robert of Gloucester+ and +Robert of Brunne+, both of whom
wrote Chronicles of England in verse.



1. The opening of the fourteenth century saw the death of the great and
able king, Edward I., the “Hammer of the Scots,” the “Keeper of his
word.” The century itself-- a most eventful period-- witnessed the
feeble and disastrous reign of Edward II.; the long and prosperous
rule-- for fifty years-- of Edward III.; the troubled times of Richard
II., who exhibited almost a repetition of the faults of Edward II.; and
the appearance of a new and powerful dynasty-- the House of Lancaster--
in the person of the able and ambitious Henry IV. This century saw also
many striking events, and many still more striking changes. It beheld
the welding of the Saxon and the Norman elements into one-- chiefly
through the French wars; the final triumph of the English language over
French in 1362; the frequent coming of the Black Death; the victories of
Crecy and Poitiers; it learned the universal use of the mariner’s
compass; it witnessed two kings-- of France and of Scotland-- prisoners
in London; great changes in the condition of labourers; the invention of
gunpowder in 1340; the rise of English commerce under Edward III.; and
everywhere in England the rising up of new powers and new ideas.

2. The first prose-writer in this century is +Sir John Mandeville+ (who
has been called the “Father of English Prose”). King Alfred has also
been called by this name; but as the English written by Alfred was very
different from that written by Mandeville,-- the latter containing a
large admixture of French and of Latin words, both writers are deserving
of the epithet. The most influential prose-writer was +John Wyclif+, who
was, in fact, the first English Reformer of the Church. In poetry, two
writers stand opposite each other in striking contrast-- +Geoffrey
Chaucer+ and +William Langlande+, the first writing in courtly “King’s
English” in end-rhyme, and with the fullest inspirations from the
literatures of France and Italy, the latter writing in head-rhyme, and--
though using more French words than Chaucer-- with a style that was
always homely, plain, and pedestrian. +John Gower+, in Kent, and +John
Barbour+, in Scotland, are also noteworthy poets in this century. The
English language reached a high state of polish, power, and freedom in
this period; and the sweetness and music of Chaucer’s verse are still
unsurpassed by modern poets. The sentences of the prose-writers of this
century are long, clumsy, and somewhat helpless; but the sweet homely
English rhythm exists in many of them, and was continued, through
Wyclif’s version, down into our translation of the Bible in 1611.

3. SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE, (+1300-1372+), “the first prose-writer in formed
English,” was born at St Albans, in Hertfordshire, in the year 1300. He
was a physician; but, in the year 1322, he set out on a journey to the
East; was away from home for more than thirty years, and died at Liège,
in Belgium, in 1372. He wrote his travels first in Latin, next in
French, and then turned them into English, “that every man of my nation
may understand it.” The book is a kind of guide-book to the Holy Land;
but the writer himself went much further east-- reached Cathay or China,
in fact. He introduced a large number of French words into our speech,
such as _cause_, _contrary_, _discover_, _quantity_, and many hundred
others. His works were much admired, read, and copied; indeed, hundreds
of manuscript copies of his book were made. There are nineteen still in
the British Museum. The book was not printed till the year 1499-- that
is, twenty-five years after printing was introduced into this country.
Many of the Old English inflexions still survive in his style. Thus he
says: “Machamete was born in Arabye, that was a pore knave (boy) that
kepte cameles that went_en_ with marchantes for marchandise.”

4. JOHN WYCLIF (his name is spelled in about forty different ways)--
+1324-1384+-- was born at Hipswell, near Richmond, in Yorkshire, in the
year 1324, and died at the vicarage of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire,
in 1384. His fame rests on two bases-- his efforts as a reformer of the
abuses of the Church, and his complete translation of the +Bible+. This
work was finished in 1383, just one year before his death. But the
translation was not done by himself alone; the larger part of the Old
Testament version seems to have been made by Nicholas de Hereford.
Though often copied in manuscript, it was not printed for several
centuries. Wyclif’s New Testament was printed in 1731, and the Old
Testament not until the year 1850. But the words and the style of his
translation, which was read and re-read by hundreds of thoughtful men,
were of real and permanent service in fixing the language in the form in
which we now find it.

5. JOHN GOWER (+1325-1408+) was a country gentleman of Kent. As
Mandeville wrote his travels in three languages, so did Gower his poems.
Almost all educated persons in the fourteenth century could read and
write with tolerable and with almost equal ease, English, French, and
Latin. His three poems are the +Speculum Meditantis+ (“The Mirror of the
Thoughtful Man”), in French; the +Vox Clamantis+ (“Voice of One
Crying”), in Latin; and +Confessio Amantis+ (“The Lover’s Confession”),
in English. No manuscript of the first work is known to exist. He was
buried in St Saviour’s, Southwark, where his effigy is still to be
seen-- his head resting on his three works. Chaucer called him “the
moral Gower”; and his books are very dull, heavy, and difficult to read.

6. WILLIAM LANGLANDE (+1332-1400+), a poet who used the old English
head-rhyme, as Chaucer used the foreign end-rhyme, was born at
Cleobury-Mortimer in Shropshire, in the year 1332. The date of his death
is doubtful. His poem is called the +Vision of Piers the Plowman+; and
it is the last long poem in our literature that was written in Old
English alliterative rhyme. From this period, if rhyme is employed at
all, it is the end-rhyme, which we borrowed from the French and
Italians. The poem has an appendix called +Do-well, Do-bet, Do-best+--
the three stages in the growth of a Christian. Langlande’s writings
remained in manuscript until the reign of Edward VI.; they were printed
then, and went through three editions in one year. The English used in
the +Vision+ is the Midland dialect-- much the same as that used by
Chaucer; only, oddly enough, Langlande admits into his English a larger
amount of French words than Chaucer. The poem is a distinct landmark in
the history of our speech. The following is a specimen of the lines.
There are three alliterative words in each line, with a pause near the

  “A voice {l}oud in that {l}ight · to {L}ucifer criëd,
  ‘{P}rinces of this {p}alace · {p}rest[16] undo the gatës,
  For here {c}ometh with {c}rown · the {k}ing of all glory!’”

    [Footnote 16: Quickly.]

7. GEOFFREY CHAUCER (+1340-1400+), the “father of English poetry,” and
the greatest narrative poet of this country, was born in London in or
about the year 1340. He lived in the reigns of Edward III., Richard II.,
and one year in the reign of Henry IV. His father was a vintner. The
name _Chaucer_ is a Norman name, and is found on the roll of Battle
Abbey. He is said to have studied both at Oxford and Cambridge; served
as page in the household of Prince Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the third
son of Edward III.; served also in the army, and was taken prisoner
in one of the French campaigns. In 1367, he was appointed
gentleman-in-waiting (_valettus_) to Edward III., who sent him on
several embassies. In 1374 he married a lady of the Queen’s chamber; and
by this marriage he became connected with John of Gaunt, who afterwards
married a sister of this lady. While on an embassy to Italy, he is
reported to have met the great poet Petrarch, who told him the story of
the Patient Griselda. In 1381, he was made Comptroller of Customs in the
great port of London-- an office which he held till the year 1386. In
that year he was elected knight of the shire-- that is, member of
Parliament for the county of Kent. In 1389, he was appointed Clerk of
the King’s Works at Westminster and Windsor. From 1381 to 1389 was
probably the best and most productive period of his life; for it was in
this period that he wrote the +House of Fame+, the +Legend of Good
Women+, and the best of the +Canterbury Tales+. From 1390 to 1400 was
spent in writing the other +Canterbury Tales+, ballads, and some moral
poems. He died at Westminster in the year 1400, and was the first writer
who was buried in the Poets’ Corner of the Abbey. We see from his life--
and it was fortunate for his poetry-- that Chaucer had the most varied
experience as student, courtier, soldier, ambassador, official, and
member of Parliament; and was able to mix freely and on equal terms with
all sorts and conditions of men, from the king to the poorest hind in
the fields. He was a stout man, with a small bright face, soft eyes,
dazed by long and hard reading, and with the English passion for
flowers, green fields, and all the sights and sounds of nature.

8. +Chaucer’s Works.+-- Chaucer’s greatest work is the +Canterbury
Tales+. It is a collection of stories written in heroic metre-- that is,
in the rhymed couplet of five iambic feet. The finest part of the
Canterbury Tales is the +Prologue+; the noblest story is probably the
+Knightes Tale+. It is worthy of note that, in 1362, when Chaucer was a
very young man, the session of the House of Commons was first opened
with a speech in English; and in the same year an Act of Parliament was
passed, substituting the use of English for French in courts of law, in
schools, and in public offices. English had thus triumphed over French
in all parts of the country, while it had at the same time become
saturated with French words. In the year 1383 the Bible was translated
into English by Wyclif. Thus Chaucer, whose writings were called by
Spenser “the well of English undefiled,” wrote at a time when our
English was freshest and newest. The grammar of his works shows English
with a large number of inflexions still remaining. The Canterbury Tales
are a series of stories supposed to be told by a number of pilgrims who
are on their way to the shrine of St Thomas (Becket) at Canterbury. The
pilgrims, thirty-two in number, are fully described-- their dress, look,
manners, and character in the Prologue. It had been agreed, when they
met at the Tabard Inn in Southwark, that each pilgrim should tell four
stories-- two going and two returning-- as they rode along the grassy
lanes, then the only roads, to the old cathedral city. But only
four-and-twenty stories exist.

9. +Chaucer’s Style.+-- Chaucer expresses, in the truest and liveliest
way, “the true and lively of everything which is set before him;” and he
first gave to English poetry that force, vigour, life, and colour which
raised it above the level of mere rhymed prose. All the best poems and
histories in Latin, French, and Italian were well known to Chaucer; and
he borrows from them with the greatest freedom. He handles, with
masterly power, all the characters and events in his Tales; and he is
hence, beyond doubt, the greatest narrative poet that England ever
produced. In the Prologue, his masterpiece, Dryden says, “we have our
forefathers and great-grand-dames all before us, as they were in
Chaucer’s days.” His dramatic power, too, is nearly as great as his
narrative power; and Mr Marsh affirms that he was “a dramatist before
that which is technically known as the existing drama had been
invented.” That is to say, he could set men and women talking as they
would and did talk in real life, but with more point, spirit, _verve_,
and picturesqueness. As regards the matter of his poems, it may be
sufficient to say that Dryden calls him “a perpetual fountain of good
sense;” and that Hazlitt makes this remark: “Chaucer was the most
practical of all the great poets,-- the most a man of business and of
the world. His poetry reads like history.” Tennyson speaks of him thus
in his “Dream of Fair Women”:--

  “Dan Chaucer, the first warbler, whose sweet breath
    Preluded those melodious bursts that fill
  The spacious times of great Elizabeth,
    With sounds that echo still.”

10. JOHN BARBOUR (+1316-1396+).-- The earliest Scottish poet of any
importance in the fourteenth century is John Barbour, who rose to be
Archdeacon of Aberdeen. Barbour was of Norman blood, and wrote Northern
English, or, as it is sometimes called, Scotch. He studied both at
Oxford and at the University of Paris. His chief work is a poem called
+The Bruce+. The English of this poem does not differ very greatly from
the English of Chaucer. Barbour has _fechtand_ for _fighting_; _pressit_
for _pressëd_; _theretill_ for _thereto_; but these differences do not
make the reading of his poem very difficult. As a Norman he was proud of
the doings of Robert de Bruce, another Norman; and Barbour must often
have heard stories of him in his boyhood, as he was only thirteen when
Bruce died.



1. The fifteenth century, a remarkable period in many ways, saw three
royal dynasties established in England-- the Houses of Lancaster, York,
and Tudor. Five successful French campaigns of Henry V., and the battle
of Agincourt; and, on the other side, the loss of all our large
possessions in France, with the exception of Calais, under the rule of
the weak Henry VI., were among the chief events of the fifteenth
century. The Wars of the Roses did not contribute anything to the
prosperity of the century, nor could so unsettled and quarrelsome a time
encourage the cultivation of literature. For this among other reasons,
we find no great compositions in prose or verse; but a considerable
activity in the making and distribution of ballads. The best of these
are +Sir Patrick Spens+, +Edom o’ Gordon+, +The Nut-Brown Mayde+, and
some of those written about +Robin Hood+ and his exploits. The ballad
was everywhere popular; and minstrels sang them in every city and
village through the length and breadth of England. The famous ballad of
+Chevy Chase+ is generally placed after the year 1460, though it did not
take its present form till the seventeenth century. It tells the story
of the Battle of Otterburn, which was fought in 1388. This century was
also witness to the short struggle of Richard III., followed by the rise
of the House of Tudor. And, in 1498, just at its close, the wonderful
apparition of a new world-- of +The New World+-- rose on the horizon of
the English mind, for England then first heard of the discovery of
America. But, as regards thinking and writing, the fifteenth century is
the most barren in our literature. It is the most barren in the
+production+ of original literature; but, on the other hand, it is,
compared with all the centuries that preceded it, the most fertile in
the dissemination and +distribution+ of the literature that already
existed. For England saw, in the memorable year of +1474+, the
establishment of the first printing-press in the Almonry at Westminster,
by +William Caxton+. The first book printed by him in this country was
called ‘The Game and Playe of the Chesse.’ When Edward IV. and his
friends visited Caxton’s house and looked at his printing-press, they
spoke of it as a pretty toy; they could not foresee that it was destined
to be a more powerful engine of good government and the spread of
thought and education than the Crown, Parliaments, and courts of law all
put together. The two greatest names in literature in the fifteenth
century are those of +James I.+ (of Scotland) and +William Caxton+
himself. Two followers of Chaucer, +Occleve+ and +Lydgate+ are also
generally mentioned. Put shortly, one might say that the chief poetical
productions of this century were its +ballads+; and the chief prose
productions, +translations+ from Latin or from foreign works.

2. JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND (+1394-1437+), though a Scotchman, owed his
education to England. He was born in 1394. Whilst on his way to France
when a boy of eleven, he was captured, in time of peace, by the order of
Henry IV., and kept prisoner in England for about eighteen years. It was
no great misfortune, for he received from Henry the best education that
England could then give in language, literature, music, and all knightly
accomplishments. He married Lady Jane Beaufort, the grand-daughter of
John of Gaunt, the friend and patron of Chaucer. His best and longest
poem is +The Kings Quair+ (that is, Book), a poem which was inspired by
the subject of it, Lady Jane Beaufort herself. The poem is written in a
stanza of seven lines (called +Rime Royal+); and the style is a close
copy of the style of Chaucer. After reigning thirteen years in Scotland,
King James was murdered at Perth, in the year 1437. A Norman by blood,
he is the best poet of the fifteenth century.

3. WILLIAM CAXTON (+1422-1492+) is the name of greatest importance and
significance in the history of our literature in the fifteenth century.
He was born in Kent in the year 1422. He was not merely a printer, he
was also a literary man; and, when he devoted himself to printing, he
took to it as an art, and not as a mere mechanical device. Caxton in
early life was a mercer in the city of London; and in the course of his
business, which was a thriving one, he had to make frequent journeys to
the Low Countries. Here he saw the printing-press for the first time,
with the new separate types, was enchanted with it, and fired by the
wonderful future it opened. It had been introduced into Holland about
the year 1450. Caxton’s press was set up in the Almonry at Westminster,
at the sign of the Red Pole. It produced in all sixty-four books, nearly
all of them in English, some of them written by Caxton himself. One of
the most important of them was Sir Thomas Malory’s +History of King
Arthur+, the storehouse from which Tennyson drew the stories which form
the groundwork of his _Idylls of the King_.



1. The Wars of the Roses ended in 1485, with the victory of Bosworth
Field. A new dynasty-- the House of Tudor-- sat upon the throne of
England; and with it a new reign of peace and order existed in the
country, for the power of the king was paramount, and the power of the
nobles had been gradually destroyed in the numerous battles of the
fifteenth century. Like the fifteenth, this century also is famous for
its ballads, the authors of which are not known, but which seem to have
been composed “by the people for the people.” They were sung everywhere,
at fairs and feasts, in town and country, at going to and coming home
from work; and many of them were set to popular dance-tunes.

  “When Tom came home from labour,
    And Cis from milking rose,
  Merrily went the tabor,
    And merrily went their toes.”

The ballads of +King Lear+ and +The Babes in the Wood+ are perhaps to be
referred to this period.

2. The first half of the sixteenth century saw the beginning of a new
era in poetry; and the last half saw the full meridian splendour of this
new era. The beginning of this era was marked by the appearance of +Sir
Thomas Wyatt+ (1503-1542), and of the +Earl of Surrey+ (1517-1547).
These two eminent writers have been called the “twin-stars of the dawn,”
the “founders of English lyrical poetry”; and it is worthy of especial
note, that it is to Wyatt that we owe the introduction of the +Sonnet+
into our literature, and to Surrey that is due the introduction of
+Blank Verse+. The most important prose-writers of the first half of the
century were +Sir Thomas More+, the great lawyer and statesman, and
+William Tyndale+, who translated the New Testament into English. In the
latter half of the century, the great poets are +Spenser+ and
+Shakespeare+; the great prose-writers, +Richard Hooker+ and +Francis

3. SIR THOMAS MORE’S (+1480-1535+) chief work in English is the +Life
and Reign of Edward V+. It is written in a plain, strong, nervous
English style. Hallam calls it “the first example of good English-- pure
and perspicuous, well chosen, without vulgarisms, and without pedantry.”
His +Utopia+ (a description of the country of _Nowhere_) was written in

4. WILLIAM TYNDALE (+1484-1536+)-- a man of the greatest significance,
both in the history of religion, and in the history of our language and
literature-- was a native of Gloucestershire, and was educated at
Magdalen Hall, Oxford. His opinions on religion and the rule of the
Catholic Church, compelled him to leave England, and drove him to the
Continent in the year 1523. He lived in Hamburg for some time. With the
German and Swiss reformers he held that the Bible should be in the hands
of every grown-up person, and not in the exclusive keeping of the
Church. He accordingly set to work to translate the Scriptures into his
native tongue. Two editions of his version of the +New Testament+ were
printed in 1525-34. He next translated the five books of Moses, and the
book of Jonah. In 1535 he was, after many escapes and adventures,
finally tracked and hunted down by an emissary of the Pope’s faction,
and thrown into prison at the castle of Vilvoorde, near Brussels. In
1536 he was brought to Antwerp, tried, condemned, led to the stake,
strangled, and burned.

5. +The Work of William Tyndale.+-- Tyndale’s translation has, since the
time of its appearance, formed the basis of all the after versions of
the Bible. It is written in the purest and simplest English; and very
few of the words used in his translation have grown obsolete in our
modern speech. Tyndale’s work is indeed, one of the most striking
landmarks in the history of our language. Mr Marsh says of it:
“Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament is the most important
philological monument of the first half of the sixteenth century,--
perhaps I should say, of the whole period between Chaucer and
Shakespeare.... The best features of the translation of 1611 are derived
from the version of Tyndale.” It may be said without exaggeration that,
in the United Kingdom, America, and the colonies, about one hundred
millions of people now speak the English of Tyndale’s Bible; nor is
there any book that has exerted so great an influence on English rhythm,
English style, the selection of words, and the build of sentences in our
English prose.

6. EDMUND SPENSER (+1552-1599+), “The Poet’s Poet,” and one of the
greatest poetical writers of his own or of any age, was born at East
Smithfield, near the Tower of London, in the year 1552, about nine years
before the birth of Bacon, and in the reign of Edward VI. He was
educated at Merchant Taylors’ School in London, and at Pembroke Hall,
Cambridge. In 1579, we find him settled in his native city, where his
best friend was the gallant Sir Philip Sidney, who introduced him to his
uncle, the Earl of Leicester, then at the height of his power and
influence with Queen Elizabeth. In the same year was published his first
poetical work, +The Shepheard’s Calendar+-- a set of twelve pastoral
poems. In 1580, he went to Ireland as Secretary to Lord Grey de Wilton,
the Viceroy of that country. For some years he resided at Kilcolman
Castle, in county Cork, on an estate which had been granted him out of
the forfeited lands of the Earl of Desmond. Sir Walter Raleigh had
obtained a similar but larger grant, and was Spenser’s near neighbour.
In 1590 Spenser brought out the first three books of +The Faerie
Queene+. The second three books of his great poem appeared in 1596.
Towards the end of 1598, a rebellion broke out in Ireland; it spread
into Munster; Spenser’s house was attacked and set on fire; in the
fighting and confusion his only son perished; and Spenser escaped with
the greatest difficulty. In deep distress of body and mind, he made his
way to London, where he died-- at an inn in King Street, Westminster, at
the age of forty-six, in the beginning of the year 1599. He was buried
in the Abbey, not far from the grave of Chaucer.

7. +Spenser’s Style.+-- His greatest work is +The Faerie Queene+; but
that in which he shows the most striking command of language is his
+Hymn of Heavenly Love+. +The Faerie Queene+ is written in a nine-lined
stanza, which has since been called the _Spenserian Stanza_. The first
eight lines are of the usual length of five iambic feet; the last line
contains six feet, and is therefore an Alexandrine. Each stanza contains
only three rhymes, which are disposed in this order: _a b a b b c b
c c_. --The music of the stanza is long-drawn out, beautiful, involved,
and even luxuriant. --The story of the poem is an allegory, like the
‘Pilgrim’s Progress’; and in it Spenser undertook, he says, “to
represent all the moral virtues, assigning to every virtue a knight to
be the patron and defender of the same.”[17] Only six books were
completed; and these relate the adventures of the knights who stand for
_Holiness_, _Temperance_, _Chastity_, _Friendship_, _Justice_, and
_Courtesy_. The +Faerie Queene+ herself is called +Gloriana+, who
represents _Glory_ in his “general intention,” and Queen Elizabeth in
his “particular intention.”

    [Footnote 17: This use of the phrase “the same” is antiquated

8. +Character of the Faerie Queene.+-- This poem is the greatest of the
sixteenth century. Spenser has not only been the delight of nearly ten
generations; he was the study of Shakespeare, the poetical master of
Cowley and of Milton, and, in some sense, of Dryden and Pope. Keats,
when a boy, was never tired of reading him. “There is something,” says
Pope, “in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in old age as it did in
one’s youth.” Professor Craik says: “Without calling Spenser the
greatest of all poets, we may still say that his poetry is the most
poetical of all poetry.” The outburst of national feeling after the
defeat of the Armada in 1588; the new lands opened up by our adventurous
Devonshire sailors; the strong and lively loyalty of the nation to the
queen; the great statesmen and writers of the period; the high daring
shown by England against Spain-- all these animated and inspired the
glowing genius of Spenser. His rhythm is singularly sweet and beautiful.
Hazlitt says: “His versification is at once the most smooth and the most
sounding in the language. It is a labyrinth of sweet sounds.” Nothing
can exceed the wealth of Spenser’s phrasing and expression; there seems
to be no limit to its flow. He is very fond of the Old-English practice
of alliteration or head-rhyme-- “hunting the letter,” as it was called.
Thus he has--

  “In woods, in waves, in wars, she wont to dwell.
  Gay without good is good heart’s greatest loathing.”

9. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (+1564-1616+), the greatest dramatist that
England ever produced, was born at Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwickshire,
on the 23d of April-- St George’s Day-- of the year 1564. His father,
John Shakespeare, was a wool dealer and grower. William was educated at
the grammar-school of the town, where he learned “small Latin and less
Greek”; and this slender stock was his only scholastic outfit for life.
At the early age of eighteen he married Anne Hathaway, a yeoman’s
daughter. In 1586, at the age of twenty-two, he quitted his native town,
and went to London.

10. +Shakespeare’s Life and Character.+-- He was employed in some menial
capacity at the Blackfriars Theatre, but gradually rose to be actor and
also adapter of plays. He was connected with the theatre for about
five-and-twenty years; and so diligent and so successful was he, that he
was able to purchase shares both in his own theatre and in the Globe.
As an actor, he was only second-rate: the two parts he is known to have
played are those of the _Ghost_ in +Hamlet+, and _Adam_ in +As You Like
It+. In 1597, at the early age of thirty-three, he was able to purchase
New Place, in Stratford, and to rebuild the house. In 1612, at the age
of forty-eight, he left London altogether, and retired for the rest of
his life to New Place, where he died in the year 1616. His old father
and mother spent the last years of their lives with him, and died under
his roof. Shakespeare had three children-- two girls and a boy. The boy,
Hamnet, died at the age of twelve. Shakespeare himself was beloved by
every one who knew him; and “gentle Shakespeare” was the phrase most
often upon the lips of his friends. A placid face, with a sweet, mild
expression; a high, broad, noble, “two-storey” forehead; bright eyes;
a most speaking mouth-- though it seldom opened; an open, frank manner,
a kindly, handsome look,-- such seems to have been the external
character of the man Shakespeare.

11. +Shakespeare’s Works.+-- He has written thirty-seven plays and many
poems. The best of his rhymed poems are his Sonnets, in which he
chronicles many of the various moods of his mind. The plays consist of
tragedies, historical plays, and comedies. The greatest of his tragedies
are probably +Hamlet+ and +King Lear+; the best of his historical plays,
+Richard III.+ and +Julius Cæsar+; and his finest comedies, +Midsummer
Night’s Dream+ and +As You Like It+. He wrote in the reign of Elizabeth
as well as in that of James; but his greatest works belong to the latter

12. +Shakespeare’s Style.+-- Every one knows that Shakespeare is great;
but how is the young learner to discover the best way of forming an
adequate idea of his greatness? In the first place, Shakespeare has very
many sides; and, in the second place, he is great on every one of them.
Coleridge says: “In all points, from the most important to the most
minute, the judgment of Shakespeare is commensurate with his genius--
nay, his genius reveals itself in his judgment, as in its most exalted
form.” He has been called “mellifluous Shakespeare;” “honey-tongued
Shakespeare;” “silver-tongued Shakespeare;” “the thousand-souled
Shakespeare;” “the myriad-minded;” and by many other epithets. He seems
to have been master of all human experience; to have known the human
heart in all its phases; to have been acquainted with all sorts and
conditions of men-- high and low, rich and poor; and to have studied the
history of past ages, and of other countries. He also shows a greater
and more highly skilled mastery over language than any other writer that
ever lived. The vocabulary employed by Shakespeare amounts in number of
words to twenty-one thousand. The vocabulary of Milton numbers only
seven thousand words. But it is not sufficient to say that Shakespeare’s
power of thought, of feeling, and of expression required three times the
number of words to express itself; we must also say that Shakespeare’s
power of expression shows infinitely greater skill, subtlety, and
cunning than is to be found in the works of Milton. Shakespeare had also
a marvellous power of making new phrases, most of which have become part
and parcel of our language. Such phrases as _every inch a king_; _witch
the world_; _the time is out of joint_, and hundreds more, show that
modern Englishmen not only speak Shakespeare, but think Shakespeare. His
knowledge of human nature has enabled him to throw into English
literature a larger number of genuine “characters” that will always live
in the thoughts of men, than any other author that ever wrote. And he
has not drawn his characters from England alone and from his own time--
but from Greece and Rome, from other countries, too, and also from all
ages. He has written in a greater variety of styles than any other
writer. “Shakespeare,” says Professor Craik, “has invented twenty
styles.” The knowledge, too, that he shows on every kind of human
endeavour is as accurate as it is varied. Lawyers say that he was a
great lawyer; theologians, that he was an able divine, and unequalled in
his knowledge of the Bible; printers, that he must have been a printer;
and seamen, that he knew every branch of the sailor’s craft.

13. +Shakespeare’s contemporaries.+-- But we are not to suppose that
Shakespeare stood alone in the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of
the seventeenth century as a great poet; and that everything else was
flat and low around him. This never is and never can be the case. Great
genius is the possession, not of one man, but of several in a great age;
and we do not find a great writer standing alone and unsupported, just
as we do not find a high mountain rising from a low plain. The largest
group of the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayas, rise from
the highest table-land in the world; and peaks nearly as high as the
highest-- Mount Everest-- are seen cleaving the blue sky in the
neighbourhood of Mount Everest itself. And so we find Shakespeare
surrounded by dramatists in some respects nearly as great as himself;
for the same great forces welling up within the heart of England that
made _him_ created also the others. +Marlowe+, the teacher of
Shakespeare, +Peele+, and +Greene+, preceded him; +Ben Jonson+,
+Beaumont+ and +Fletcher+, +Massinger+ and +Ford+, +Webster+, +Chapman+,
and many others, were his contemporaries, lived with him, talked with
him; and no doubt each of these men influenced the work of the others.
But the works of these men belong chiefly to the seventeenth century. We
must not, however, forget that the reign of Queen Elizabeth-- called in
literature the +Elizabethan Period+-- was the greatest that England ever
saw,-- greatest in poetry and in prose, greatest in thought and in
action, perhaps also greatest in external events.

14. CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (+1564-1593+), the first great English
dramatist, was born at Canterbury in the year 1564, two months before
the birth of Shakespeare himself. He studied at Corpus Christi College,
Cambridge, and took the degree of Master of Arts in 1587. After leaving
the university, he came up to London and wrote for the stage. He seems
to have led a wild and reckless life, and was stabbed in a tavern brawl
on the 1st of June 1593. “As he may be said to have invented and made
the verse of the drama, so he created the English drama.” His chief
plays are +Dr Faustus+ and +Edward the Second+. His style is one of the
greatest vigour and power: it is often coarse, but it is always strong.
Ben Jonson spoke of “Marlowe’s mighty line”; and Lord Jeffrey says of
him: “In felicity of thought and strength of expression, he is second
only to Shakespeare himself.”

15. BEN JONSON (+1574-1637+), the greatest dramatist of England after
Shakespeare, was born in Westminster in the year 1574, just nine years
after Shakespeare’s birth. He received his education at Westminster
School. It is said that, after leaving school, he was obliged to assist
his stepfather as a bricklayer; that he did not like the work; and that
he ran off to the Low Countries, and there enlisted as a soldier. On his
return to London, he began to write for the stage. Jonson was a friend
and companion of Shakespeare’s; and at the Mermaid, in Fleet Street,
they had, in presence of men like Raleigh, Marlowe, Greene, Peele, and
other distinguished Englishmen, many “wit-combats” together. Jonson’s
greatest plays are +Volpone+ or the Fox, and the +Alchemist+-- both
comedies. In 1616 he was created Poet-Laureate. For many years he was in
receipt of a pension from James I. and from Charles I.; but so careless
and profuse were his habits, that he died in poverty in the year 1637.
He was buried in an upright position in Westminster Abbey; and the stone
over his grave still bears the inscription, “O rare Ben Jonson!” He has
been called a “robust, surly, and observing dramatist.”

16. RICHARD HOOKER (+1553-1600+), one of the greatest of Elizabethan
prose-writers, was born at Heavitree, a village near the city of Exeter,
in the year 1553. By the kind aid of Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, he was
sent to Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a hard-working
student, and especially for his knowledge of Hebrew. In 1581 he entered
the Church. In the same year he made an imprudent marriage with an
ignorant, coarse, vulgar, and domineering woman. He was appointed Master
of the Temple in 1585; but, by his own request, he was removed from that
office, and chose the quieter living of Boscombe, near Salisbury. Here
he wrote the first four books of his famous work, +The Laws of
Ecclesiastical Polity+, which were published in the year 1594. In 1595
he was translated to the living of Bishopsborne, near Canterbury. His
death took place in the year 1600. The complete work, which consisted of
eight books, was not published till 1662.

17. +Hooker’s Style.+-- His writings are said to “mark an era in English
prose.” His sentences are generally very long, very elaborate, but full
of “an extraordinary musical richness of language.” The order is often
more like that of a Latin than of an English sentence; and he is fond of
Latin inversions. Thus he writes: “That which by wisdom he saw to be
requisite for that people, was by as great wisdom compassed.” The
following sentences give us a good example of his sweet and musical
rhythm. “Of law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her seat is
the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things in
heaven and earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and
the greatest as not exempted from her power: both angels and men, and
creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and
manner, yet all, with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of
their peace and joy.”

18. SIR PHILIP SIDNEY (+1554-1586+), a noble knight, a statesman, and
one of the best prose-writers of the Elizabethan age, was born at
Penshurst, in Kent, in the year 1554. He was educated at Shrewsbury
School, and then at Christ Church, Oxford. At the age of seventeen he
went abroad for three years’ travel on the Continent; and, while in
Paris, witnessed, from the windows of the English Embassy, the horrible
Massacre of St Bartholomew in the year 1572. At the early age of
twenty-two he was sent as ambassador to the Emperor of Germany; and
while on that embassy, he met William of Orange-- “William the Silent”--
who pronounced him one of the ripest statesmen in Europe. This was said
of a young man “who seems to have been the type of what was noblest in
the youth of England during times that could produce a statesman.” In
1580 he wrote the +Arcadia+, a romance, and dedicated it to his sister,
the Countess of Pembroke. The year after, he produced his +Apologie for
Poetrie+. His policy as a statesman was to side with Protestant rulers,
and to break the power of the strongest Catholic kingdom on the
Continent-- the power of Spain. In 1585 the Queen sent him to the
Netherlands as governor of the important fortress of Flushing. He was
mortally wounded in a skirmish at Zutphen; and as he was being carried
off the field, handed to a private the cup of cold water that had been
brought to quench his raging thirst. He died of his wounds on the 17th
of October 1586. One of his friends wrote of him:--

  “Death, courage, honour, make thy soul to live!--
  Thy soul in heaven, thy name in tongues of men!”

19. +Sidney’s Poetry.+-- In addition to the +Arcadia+ and the +Apologie
for Poetrie+, Sidney wrote a number of beautiful poems. The best of
these are a series of sonnets called +Astrophel+ and +Stella+, of which
his latest critic says: “As a series of sonnets, the +Astrophel+ and
+Stella+ poems are second only to Shakespeare’s; as a series of
love-poems, they are perhaps unsurpassed.” Spenser wrote an elegy upon
Sidney himself, under the title of +Astrophel+. Sidney’s prose is among
the best of the sixteenth century. “He reads more modern than any other
author of that century.” He does not use “ink-horn terms,” or cram his
sentences with Latin or French or Italian words; but both his words and
his idioms are of pure English. He is fond of using personifications.
Such phrases as, “About the time that the candles began to inherit the
sun’s office;” “Seeing the day begin to disclose her comfortable
beauties,” are not uncommon. The rhythm of his sentences is always
melodious, and each of them has a very pleasant close.



1. +The First Half.+-- Under the wise and able rule of Queen Elizabeth,
this country had enjoyed a long term of peace. The Spanish Armada had
been defeated in 1588; the Spanish power had gradually waned before the
growing might of England; and it could be said with perfect truth, in
the words of Shakespeare:--

  “In her days every man doth eat in safety
  Under his own vine what he plants, and sing
  The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours.”

The country was at peace; and every peaceful art and pursuit prospered.
As one sign of the great prosperity and outstretching enterprise of
commerce, we should note the foundation of the East India Company on the
last day of the year 1600. The reign of James I. (1603-1625) was also
peaceful; and the country made steady progress in industries, in
commerce, and in the arts and sciences. The two greatest prose-writers
of the first half of the seventeenth century were +Raleigh+ and +Bacon+;
the two greatest poets were +Shakespeare+ and +Ben Jonson+.

2. SIR WALTER RALEIGH (+1552-1618+).-- +Walter Raleigh+, soldier,
statesman, coloniser, historian, and poet, was born in Devonshire, in
the year 1552. He was sent to Oriel College, Oxford; but he left at the
early age of seventeen to fight on the side of the Protestants in
France. From that time his life is one long series of schemes, plots,
adventures, and misfortunes-- culminating in his execution at
Westminster in the year 1618. He spent “the evening of a tempestuous
life” in the Tower, where he lay for thirteen years; and during this
imprisonment he wrote his greatest work, the +History of the World+,
which was never finished. His life and adventures belong to the
sixteenth; his works to the seventeenth century. Raleigh was probably
the most dazzling figure of his time; and is “in a singular degree the
representative of the vigorous versatility of the Elizabethan period.”
Spenser, whose neighbour he was for some time in Ireland, thought highly
of his poetry, calls him “the summer’s nightingale,” and says of him--

  “Yet æmuling[18] my song, he took in hand
    My pipe, before that æmulëd of many,
  And played thereon (for well that skill he conn’d),
    Himself as skilful in that art as any.”

Raleigh is the author of the celebrated verses, “Go, soul, the body’s
guest;” “Give me my scallop-shell of quiet;” and of the lines which were
written and left in his Bible on the night before he was beheaded:--

  “Even such is time, that takes in trust
  Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
  And pays us but with age and dust;
  Who, in the dark and silent grave,
  When we have wandered all our ways,
  Shuts up the story of our days:
  But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
  The Lord shall raise me up, I trust!”

Raleigh’s prose has been described as “some of the most flowing and
modern-looking prose of the period;” and there can be no doubt that, if
he had given himself entirely to literature, he would have been one of
the greatest poets and prose-writers of his time. His style is calm,
noble, and melodious. The following is the last sentence of the +History
of the World+:--

  “O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thou
  hast persuaded; what none hath dared, thou hast done; and whom all
  the world hath flattered, thou only hast cast out of the world and
  despised; thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness,
  all the pride, cruelty, and ambition of man, and covered it all over
  with these two narrow words _Hic jacet_.”

    [Footnote 18: Emulating.]

3. FRANCIS BACON (+1561-1626+), one of the greatest of English thinkers,
and one of our best prose-writers, was born at York House, in the
Strand, London, in the year 1561. He was a grave and precocious child;
and Queen Elizabeth, who knew him and liked him, used to pat him and
call him her “young Lord Keeper”-- his father being Lord Keeper of the
Seals in her reign. At the early age of twelve he was sent to Trinity
College, Cambridge, and remained there for three years. In 1582 he was
called to the bar; in 1593 he was M.P. for Middlesex. But his greatest
rise in fortune did not take place till the reign of James I.; when, in
the year 1618, he had risen to be Lord High Chancellor of England. The
title which he took on this occasion-- for the Lord High Chancellor is
chairman of the House of Lords-- was +Baron Verulam+; and a few years
after he was created +Viscount St Albans+. His eloquence was famous in
England; and Ben Jonson said of him: “The fear of every man that heard
him was lest he should make an end.” In the year 1621 he was accused of
taking bribes, and of giving unjust decisions as a judge. He had not
really been unconscientious, but he had been careless; was obliged to
plead guilty; and he was sentenced to pay a fine of £40,000, and to be
imprisoned in the Tower during the king’s pleasure. The fine was
remitted; Bacon was set free in two days; a pension was allowed him; but
he never afterwards held office of any kind. He died on Easter-day of
the year 1626, of a chill which he caught while experimenting on the
preservative properties of snow.

4. His chief prose-works in English-- for he wrote many in Latin-- are
the +Essays+, and the +Advancement of Learning+. His +Essays+ make one
of the wisest books ever written; and a great number of English thinkers
owe to them the best of what they have had to say. They are written in a
clear, forcible, pithy, and picturesque style, with short sentences, and
a good many illustrations, drawn from history, politics, and science. It
is true that the style is sometimes stiff, and even rigid; but the
stiffness is the stiffness of a richly embroidered cloth, into which
threads of gold and silver have been worked. Bacon kept what he called a
+Promus+ or Commonplace-Book; and in this he entered striking thoughts,
sentences, and phrases that he met with in the course of his reading, or
that occurred to him during the day. He calls these sentences
“salt-pits, that you may extract salt out of, and sprinkle as you will.”
The following are a few examples:--

  “That that is Forced is not Forcible.”

  “No Man loveth his Fetters though they be of Gold.”

  “Clear and Round Dealing is the Honour of Man’s Nature.”

  “The Arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty Flatterers have
  intelligence, is a Man’s Self.”

    “If Things be not tossed upon the Arguments of Counsell, they will
  be tossed upon the Waves of Fortune.”

The following are a few striking sentences from his +Essays+:--

  “Virtue is like a rich stone, best plain set.”

  “A man’s nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore, let him
  seasonably water the one, and destroy the other.”

  “A crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures,
  and talk but a tinkling cymbal, when there is no love.”

No man could say wiser things in pithier words; and we may well say of
his thoughts, in the words of Tennyson, that they are--

          “Jewels, five words long,
  That on the stretched forefinger of all time
  Sparkle for ever.”

5. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (+1564-1616+) has been already treated of in the
chapter on the sixteenth century. But it may be noted here that his
first two periods-- as they are called-- fall within the sixteenth, and
his last two periods within the seventeenth century. His first period
lies between 1591 and 1596; and to it are ascribed his early poems, his
play of +Richard II.+, and some other historical plays. His second
period, which stretches from 1596 to 1601 holds the Sonnets, the
+Merchant of Venice+, the +Merry Wives of Windsor+, and a few historical
dramas. But his third and fourth periods were richer in production, and
in greater productions. The third period, which belongs to the years
1601 to 1608, produced the play of +Julius Cæsar+, the great tragedies
of +Hamlet+, +Othello+, +Lear+, +Macbeth+, and some others. To the
fourth period, which lies between 1608 and 1613, belong the calmer and
wiser dramas,-- +Winter’s Tale+, +The Tempest+, and +Henry VIII+. Three
years after-- in 1616-- he died.

6. +The Second Half.+-- The second half of the great and unique
seventeenth century was of a character very different indeed from that
of the first half. The Englishmen born into it had to face a new world!
New thoughts in religion, new forces in politics, new powers in social
matters had been slowly, steadily, and irresistibly rising into
supremacy ever since the Scottish King James came to take his seat upon
the throne of England in 1603. These new forces had, in fact, become so
strong that they led a king to the scaffold, and handed over the
government of England to a section of Republicans. Charles I. was
executed in 1649; and, though his son came back to the throne in 1660,
the face, the manners, the thoughts of England and of Englishmen had
undergone a complete internal and external change. The Puritan party was
everywhere the ruling party; and its views and convictions, in religion,
in politics, and in literature, held unquestioned sway in almost every
part of England. In the Puritan party, the strongest section was formed
by the Independents-- the “root and branch men”-- as they were called;
and the greatest man among the Independents was Oliver Cromwell, in
whose government +John Milton+ was Foreign Secretary. Milton was
certainly by far the greatest and most powerful writer, both in prose
and in verse, on the side of the Puritan party. The ablest verse-writer
on the Royalist or Court side was +Samuel Butler+, the unrivalled
satirist-- the Hogarth of language,-- the author of +Hudibras+. The
greatest prose-writer on the Royalist and Church side was +Jeremy
Taylor+, Bishop of Down, in Ireland, and the author of +Holy Living+,
+Holy Dying+, and many other works written with a wonderful eloquence.
The greatest philosophical writer was +Thomas Hobbes+, the author of the
+Leviathan+. The most powerful writer for the people was +John Bunyan+,
the immortal author of +The Pilgrim’s Progress+. When, however, we come
to the reigns of Charles II. and James II., and the new influences which
their rule and presence imparted, we find the greatest poet to be +John
Dryden+, and the most important prose-writer, +John Locke+.

7. +The Poetry of the Second Half.+-- The poetry of the second half of
the seventeenth century was not an outgrowth or lineal descendant of the
poetry of the first half. No trace of the strong Elizabethan poetical
emotion remained; no writer of this half-century can claim kinship with
the great authors of the Elizabethan period. The three most remarkable
poets in the latter half of this century are +John Milton+, +Samuel
Butler+, and +John Dryden+. But Milton’s culture was derived chiefly
from the great Greek and Latin writers; and his poems show few or no
signs of belonging to any age or generation in particular of English
literature. Butler’s poem, the +Hudibras+, is the only one of its kind;
and if its author owes anything to other writers, it is to France and
not to England that we must look for its sources. Dryden, again, shows
no sign of being related to Shakespeare or the dramatic writers of the
early part of the century; he is separated from them by a great gulf; he
owes most, when he owes anything, to the French school of poetry.

8. JOHN MILTON (+1608-1674+), the second greatest name in English
poetry, and the greatest of all our epic poets, was born in Bread
Street, Cheapside, London, in the year 1608-- five years after the
accession of James I. to the throne, and eight years before the death of
Shakespeare. He was educated at St Paul’s School, and then at Christ’s
College, Cambridge. He was so handsome-- with a delicate complexion,
clear blue eyes, and light-brown hair flowing down his shoulders-- that
he was known as the “Lady of Christ’s.” He was destined for the Church;
but, being early seized with a strong desire to compose a great poetical
work which should bring honour to his country and to the English tongue,
he gave up all idea of becoming a clergyman. Filled with his secret
purpose, he retired to Horton, in Buckinghamshire, where his father had
bought a small country seat. Between the years 1632 and 1638 he studied
all the best Greek and Latin authors, mathematics, and science; and he
also wrote +L’Allegro+ and +Il Penseroso+, +Comus+, +Lycidas+, and some
shorter poems. These were preludes, or exercises, towards the great
poetical work which it was the mission of his life to produce. In
1638-39 he took a journey to the Continent. Most of his time was spent
in Italy; and, when in Florence, he paid a visit to Galileo in prison.
It had been his intention to go on to Greece; but the troubled state of
politics at home brought him back sooner than he wished. The next ten
years of his life were engaged in teaching and in writing his prose
works. His ideas on teaching are to be found in his +Tractate on
Education+. The most eloquent of his prose-works is his +Areopagitica,
a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing+ (1644)-- a plea for the
freedom of the press, for relieving all writings from the criticism of
censors. In 1649-- the year of the execution of Charles I.-- Milton was
appointed Latin or Foreign Secretary to the Government of Oliver
Cromwell; and for the next ten years his time was taken up with official
work, and with writing prose-volumes in defence of the action of the
Republic. In 1660 the Restoration took place; and Milton was at length
free, in his fifty-third year, to carry out his long-cherished scheme of
writing a great Epic poem. He chose the subject of the fall and the
restoration of man. +Paradise Lost+ was completed in 1665; but, owing to
the Plague and the Fire of London, it was not published till the year
1667. Milton’s young Quaker friend, Ellwood, said to him one day: “Thou
hast said much of Paradise Lost, what hast thou to say of Paradise
Found?” +Paradise Regained+ was the result-- a work which was written in
1666, and appeared, along with +Samson Agonistes+, in the year 1671.
Milton died in the year 1674-- about the middle of the reign of Charles
II. He had been three times married.

9. +L’Allegro+ (or “The Cheerful Man”) is a companion poem to +Il
Penseroso+ (or “The Meditative Man”). The poems present two contrasted
views of the life of the student. They are written in an irregular kind
of octosyllabic verse. The +Comus+-- mostly in blank verse-- is a
lyrical drama; and Milton’s work was accompanied by a musical
composition by the then famous musician Henry Lawes. +Lycidas+-- a poem
in irregular rhymed verse-- is a threnody on the death of Milton’s young
friend, Edward King, who was drowned in sailing from Chester to Dublin.
This poem has been called “the touchstone of taste;” the man who cannot
admire it has no feeling for true poetry. The +Paradise Lost+ is the
story of how Satan was allowed to plot against the happiness of man; and
how Adam and Eve fell through his designs. The style is the noblest in
the English language; the music of the rhythm is lofty, involved,
sustained, and sublime. “In reading ‘Paradise Lost,’” says Mr Lowell,
“one has a feeling of spaciousness such as no other poet gives.”
+Paradise Regained+ is, in fact, the story of the Temptation, and of
Christ’s triumph over the wiles of Satan. Wordsworth says: “‘Paradise
Regained’ is most perfect in execution of any written by Milton;” and
Coleridge remarks that “it is in its kind the most perfect poem extant,
though its kind may be inferior in interest.” +Samson Agonistes+
(“Samson in Struggle”) is a drama, in highly irregular unrhymed verse,
in which the poet sets forth his own unhappy fate--

  “Eyeless, in Gaza, at the mill with slaves.”

It is, indeed, an autobiographical poem-- it is the story of the last
years of the poet’s life.

10. SAMUEL BUTLER (+1612-1680+), the wittiest of English poets, was born
at Strensham, in Worcestershire, in the year 1612, four years after the
birth of Milton, and four years before the death of Shakespeare. He was
educated at the grammar-school of Worcester, and afterwards at
Cambridge-- but only for a short time. At the Restoration he was made
secretary to the Earl of Carbery, who was then President of the
Principality of Wales, and steward of Ludlow Castle. The first part of
his long poem called +Hudibras+ appeared in 1662; the second part in
1663; the third in 1678. Two years after, Butler died in the greatest
poverty in London. He was buried in St Paul’s, Covent Garden; but a
monument was erected to him in Westminster Abbey. Upon this fact Wesley
wrote the following epigram:--

  “While Butler, needy wretch, was yet alive,
  No generous patron would a dinner give;
  See him, when starved to death, and turned to dust,
  Presented with a monumental bust.
  The poet’s fate is here in emblem shown,--
  He asked for bread, and he received a stone.”

11. The +Hudibras+ is a burlesque poem,-- a long lampoon, a laboured
caricature,-- in mockery of the weaker side of the great Puritan party.
It is an imaginary account of the adventures of a Puritan knight and his
squire in the Civil Wars. It is choke-full of all kinds of learning, of
the most pungent remarks-- a very hoard of sentences and saws, “of
vigorous locutions and picturesque phrases, of strong, sound sense, and
robust English.” It has been more quoted from than almost any book in
our language. Charles II. was never tired of reading it and quoting from

  “He never ate, nor drank, nor slept,
  But Hudibras still near him kept”--

says Butler himself.

The following are some of his best known lines:--

  “And, like a lobster boil’d, the morn
  From black to red began to turn.”

  “For loyalty is still the same,
  Whether it win or lose the game:
  True as the dial to the sun,
  Altho’ it be not shin’d upon.”

  “He that complies against his will,
  Is of his own opinion still.”

12. JOHN DRYDEN (+1631-1700+), the greatest of our poets in the second
rank, was born at Aldwincle, in Northamptonshire, in the year 1631. He
was descended from Puritan ancestors on both sides of his house. He was
educated at Westminster School, and at Trinity College, Cambridge.
London became his settled abode in the year 1657. At the Restoration, in
1660, he became an ardent Royalist; and, in the year 1663, he married
the daughter of a Royalist nobleman, the Earl of Berkshire. It was not a
happy marriage; the lady, on the one hand, had a violent temper, and, on
the other, did not care a straw for the literary pursuits of her
husband. In 1666 he wrote his first long poem, the +Annus Mirabilis+
(“The Wonderful Year”), in which he paints the war with Holland, and the
Fire of London; and from this date his life is “one long literary
labour.” In 1670, he received the double appointment of
Historiographer-Royal and Poet-Laureate. Up to the year 1681, his work
lay chiefly in writing plays for the theatre; and these plays were
written in rhymed verse, in imitation of the French plays; for, from the
date of the Restoration, French influence was paramount both in
literature and in fashion. But in this year he published the first part
of +Absalom and Achitophel+-- one of the most powerful satires in the
language. In the year 1683 he was appointed Collector of Customs in the
port of London-- a post which Chaucer had held before him. (It is worthy
of note that Dryden “translated” the Tales of Chaucer into modern
English.) At the accession of James II., in 1685, Dryden became a Roman
Catholic; most certainly neither for gain nor out of gratitude, but from
conviction. In 1687, appeared his poem of +The Hind and the Panther+, in
which he defends his new creed. He had, a few years before, brought out
another poem called +Religio Laici+ (“A Layman’s Faith”), which was a
defence of the Church of England and of her position in religion. In
+The Hind and the Panther+, the Hind represents the Roman Catholic
Church, “a milk-white hind, unspotted and unchanged,” the Panther the
Church of England; and the two beasts reply to each other in all the
arguments used by controversialists on these two sides. When the
Revolution of 1688 took place, and James II. had to flee the kingdom,
Dryden lost both his offices and the pension he had from the Crown.
Nothing daunted, he set to work once more. Again he wrote for the stage;
but the last years of his life were spent chiefly in translation. He
translated passages from Homer, Ovid, and from some Italian writers; but
his most important work was the translation of the whole of Virgil’s
+Æneid+. To the last he retained his fire and vigour, action and rush of
verse; and some of his greatest lyric poems belong to his later years.
His ode called +Alexander’s Feast+ was written at the age of sixty-six;
and it was written at one sitting. At the age of sixty-nine he was
meditating a translation of the whole of Homer-- both the Iliad and the
Odyssey. He died at his house in London, on May-day of 1700, and was
buried with great pomp and splendour in Poets’ Corner in Westminster

13. His best satire is the +Absalom and Achitophel+; his best specimen
of reasoning in verse is +The Hind and the Panther+. His best ode is his
+Ode to the Memory of Mrs Anne Killigrew+. Dryden’s style is
distinguished by its power, sweep, vigour, and “long majestic march.” No
one has handled the heroic couplet-- and it was this form of verse that
he chiefly used-- with more vigour than Dryden; Pope was more correct,
more sparkling, more finished, but he had not Dryden’s magnificent march
or sweeping impulsiveness. “The fire and spirit of the ‘Annus
Mirabilis,’” says his latest critic, “are nothing short of amazing, when
the difficulties which beset the author are remembered. The glorious
dash of the performance is his own.” His prose, though full of faults,
is also very vigorous. It has “something of the lightning zigzag vigour
and splendour of his verse.” He always writes clear, homely, and pure
English,-- full of force and point.

Many of his most pithy lines are often quoted:--

  “Men are but children of a larger growth.”

  “Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
  He that would search for pearls must dive below.”

  “The greatest argument for love is love.”

  “The secret pleasure of the generous act,
  Is the great mind’s great bribe.”

The great American critic and poet, Mr Lowell, compares him to “an
ostrich, to be classed with flying things, and capable, what with leap
and flap together, of leaving the earth for a longer or a shorter space,
but loving the open plain, where wing and foot help each other to
something that is both flight and run at once.”

14. JEREMY TAYLOR (+1613-1667+), the greatest master of ornate and
musical English prose in his own day, was born at Cambridge in the year
1613-- just three years before Shakespeare died. His father was a
barber. After attending the free grammar-school of Cambridge, he
proceeded to the University. He took holy orders and removed to London.
When he was lecturing one day at St Paul’s, Archbishop Laud was so taken
by his “youthful beauty, pleasant air,” fresh eloquence, and exuberant
style, that he had him created a Fellow of All Souls’ College, Oxford.
When the Civil War broke out, he was taken prisoner by the Parliamentary
forces; and, indeed, suffered imprisonment more than once. After the
Restoration, he was presented with a bishopric in Ireland, where he died
in 1667.

15. Perhaps his best works are his +Holy Living+ and +Holy Dying+. His
style is rich, even to luxury, full of the most imaginative
illustrations, and often overloaded with ornament. He has been called
“the Shakespeare of English prose,” “the Spenser of divinity,” and by
other appellations. The latter title is a very happy description; for he
has the same wealth of style, phrase, and description that Spenser has,
and the same boundless delight in setting forth his thoughts in a
thousand different ways. The following is a specimen of his writing. He
is speaking of a shipwreck:--

  “These are the thoughts of mortals, this is the end and sum of all
  their designs. A dark night and an ill guide, a boisterous sea and a
  broken cable, a hard rock and a rough wind, dash in pieces the
  fortune of a whole family; and they that shall weep loudest for the
  accident are not yet entered into the storm, and yet have suffered

His writings contain many pithy statements. The following are a few of

  “No man is poor that does not think himself so.”

  “He that spends his time in sport and calls it recreation, is like
  him whose garment is all made of fringe, and his meat nothing but

  “A good man is as much in awe of himself as of a whole assembly.”

16. THOMAS HOBBES (+1588-1679+), a great philosopher, was born at
Malmesbury in the year 1588. He is hence called “the philosopher of
Malmesbury.” He lived during the reigns of four English sovereigns--
Elizabeth, James I., Charles I., and Charles II.; and he was
twenty-eight years of age when Shakespeare died. He is in many respects
the type of the hard-working, long-lived, persistent Englishman. He was
for many years tutor in the Devonshire family-- to the first Earl of
Devonshire, and to the third Earl of Devonshire-- and lived for several
years at the family seat of Chatsworth. In his youth he was acquainted
with Bacon and Ben Jonson; in his middle age he knew Galileo in Italy;
and as he lived to the age of ninety-two, he might have conversed with
John Locke or with Daniel Defoe. His greatest work is the +Leviathan+;
or, +The Matter, Form, and Power of a Commonwealth+. His style is clear,
manly, and vigorous. He tried to write poetry too. At the advanced age
of eighty-five, he wrote a translation of the whole of Homer’s Iliad and
Odyssey into rhymed English verse, using the same quatrain and the same
measure that Dryden employed in his ‘Annus Mirabilis.’ Two lines are
still remembered of this translation: speaking of a child and his
mother, he says--

  “And like a star upon her bosom lay
  His beautiful and shining golden head.”

17. JOHN BUNYAN (+1628-1688+), one of the most popular of our
prose-writers, was born at Elstow, in Bedfordshire, in the year 1628--
just three years before the birth of Dryden. He served, when a young
man, with the Parliamentary forces, and was present at the siege of
Leicester. At the Restoration, he was apprehended for preaching, in
disobedience to the Conventicle Act, “was had home to prison, and there
lay complete twelve years.” Here he supported himself and his family by
making tagged laces and other small-wares; and here, too, he wrote the
immortal +Pilgrim’s Progress+. After his release, he became pastor of
the Baptist congregation at Bedford. He had a great power of bringing
persons who had quarrelled together again; and he was so popular among
those who knew him, that he was generally spoken of as “Bishop Bunyan.”
On a journey, undertaken to reconcile an estranged father and a
rebellious son, he caught a severe cold, and died of fever in London, in
the year 1688. Every one has read, or will read, the +Pilgrim’s
Progress+; and it may be said, without exaggeration, that to him who has
not read the book, a large part of English life and history is dumb and
unintelligible. Bunyan has been called the “Spenser of the people,” and
“the greatest master of allegory that ever lived.” His power of
imagination is something wonderful; and his simple, homely, and vigorous
style makes everything so real, that we seem to be reading a narrative
of everyday events and conversations. His vocabulary is not, as Macaulay
said, “the vocabulary of the common people;” rather should we say that
his English is the English of the Bible and of the best religious
writers. His style is, almost everywhere, simple, homely, earnest, and
vernacular-- without being vulgar. Bunyan’s books have, along with
Shakespeare and Tyndale’s works, been among the chief supports of an
idiomatic, nervous, and simple English.

18. JOHN LOCKE (+1632-1704+), a great English philosopher, was born at
Wrington, near Bristol, in the year 1632. He was educated at Oxford; but
he took little interest in the Greek and Latin classics, his chief
studies lying in medicine and the physical sciences. He became attached
to the famous Lord Shaftesbury, under whom he filled several public
offices-- among others, that of Commissioner of Trade. When Shaftesbury
was obliged to flee to Holland, Locke followed him, and spent several
years in exile in that country. All his life a very delicate man, he
yet, by dint of great care and thoughtfulness, contrived to live to the
age of seventy-two. His two most famous works are +Some Thoughts
concerning Education+, and the celebrated +Essay on the Human
Understanding+. The latter, which is his great work, occupied his time
and thoughts for eighteen years. In both these books, Locke exhibits the
very genius of common-sense. The purpose of education is, in his
opinion, not to make learned men, but to maintain “a sound mind in a
sound body;” and he begins the education of the future man even from his
cradle. In his philosophical writings, he is always simple; but, as he
is loose and vacillating in his use of terms, this simplicity is often
purchased at the expense of exactness and self-consistency.



1. +The Age of Prose.+-- The eighteenth century was an age of prose in
two senses. In the first place, it was a prosaic age; and, in the second
place, better prose than poetry was produced by its writers. One
remarkable fact may also be noted about the chief prose-writers of this
century-- and that is, that they were, most of them, not merely able
writers, not merely distinguished literary men, but also men of
affairs-- men well versed in the world and in matters of the highest
practical moment, while some were also statesmen holding high office.
Thus, in the first half of the century, we find Addison, Swift, and
Defoe either holding office or influencing and guiding those who held
office; while, in the latter half, we have men like Burke, Hume, and
Gibbon, of whom the same, or nearly the same, can be said. The poets, on
the contrary, of this eighteenth century, are all of them-- with the
very slightest exceptions-- men who devoted most of their lives to
poetry, and had little or nothing to do with practical matters. It may
also be noted here that the character of the eighteenth century becomes
more and more prosaic as it goes on-- less and less under the influence
of the spirit of poetry, until, about the close, a great reaction makes
itself felt in the persons of Cowper, Chatterton, and Burns, of Crabbe
and Wordsworth.

2. +The First Half.+-- The great prose-writers of the first half of the
eighteenth century are +Addison+ and +Steele+, +Swift+ and +Defoe+. All
of these men had some more or less close connection with the rise of
journalism in England; and one of them, Defoe, was indeed the founder of
the modern newspaper. By far the most powerful intellect of these four
was Swift. The greatest poets of the first half of the eighteenth
century were +Pope+, +Thomson+, +Collins+, and +Gray+. Pope towers above
all of them by a head and shoulders, because he was much more fertile
than any, and because he worked so hard and so untiringly at the labour
of the file-- at the task of polishing and improving his verses. But the
vein of poetry in the three others-- and more especially in Collins--
was much more pure and genuine than it was in Pope at any time of his
life-- at any period of his writing. Let us look at each of these
writers a little more closely.

3. DANIEL DEFOE (+1661-1731+), one of the most fertile writers that
England ever saw, and one who has been the delight of many generations
of readers, was born in the city of London in the year 1661. He was
educated to be a Dissenting minister; but he turned from that profession
to the pursuit of trade. He attempted several trades,-- was a hosier,
a hatter, a printer; and he is said also to have been a brick and tile
maker. In 1692 he failed in business; but, in no long time after, he
paid every one of his creditors to the uttermost farthing. Through all
his labours and misfortunes he was always a hard and careful reader,--
an omnivorous reader, too, for he was in the habit of reading almost
every book that came in his way. He made his first reputation by writing
political pamphlets. One of his pamphlets brought him into high favour
with King William; another had the effect of placing him in the pillory
and lodging him in prison. But while in Newgate, he did not idle away
his time or “languish”; he set to work, wrote hard, and started a
newspaper, +The Review+,-- the earliest genuine newspaper England had
seen up to his time. This paper he brought out two or three times
a-week; and every word of it he wrote himself. He continued to carry it
on single-handed for eight years. In 1706, he was made a member of the
Commission for bringing about the union between England and Scotland;
and his great knowledge of commerce and commercial affairs were of
singular value to this Commission. In 1715 he had a dangerous illness,
brought on by political excitement; and, on his recovery, he gave up
most of his political writing, and took to the composition of stories
and romances. Although now a man of fifty-four, he wrote with the vigour
and ease of a young man of thirty. His greatest imaginative work was
written in 1719-- when he was nearly sixty-- +The Life and Strange
Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner,... written
by Himself+. Within six years he had produced twelve works of a similar
kind. He is said to have written in all two hundred and fifty books in
the course of his lifetime. He died in 1731.

4. His best known-- and it is also his greatest-- work is +Robinson
Crusoe+; and this book, which every one has read, may be compared with
‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ for the purpose of observing how imaginative
effects are produced by different means and in different ways. Another
vigorous work of imagination by Defoe is the +Journal of the Plague+,
which appeared in 1722. There are three chief things to be noted
regarding Defoe and his writings. These are: first, that Defoe possessed
an unparalleled knowledge-- a knowledge wider than even Shakespeare’s--
of the circumstances and details of human life among all sorts, ranks,
and conditions of men; secondly, that he gains his wonderful realistic
effects by the freest and most copious use of this detailed knowledge in
his works of imagination; and thirdly, that he possessed a vocabulary of
the most wonderful wealth. His style is strong, homely, and vigorous,
but the sentences are long, loose, clumsy, and sometimes ungrammatical.
Like Sir Walter Scott, he was too eager to produce large and broad
effects to take time to balance his clauses or to polish his sentences.
Like Sir Walter Scott, again, he possesses in the highest degree the art
of _particularising_.

5. JONATHAN SWIFT (+1667-1745+), the greatest prose-writer, in his own
kind, of the eighteenth century, and the opposite in most respects--
especially in style-- of Addison, was born in Dublin in the year 1667.
Though born in Ireland, he was of purely English descent-- his father
belonging to a Yorkshire family, and his mother being a Leicestershire
lady. His father died before he was born; and he was educated by the
kindness of an uncle. After being at a private school at Kilkenny, he
was sent to Trinity College, Dublin, where he was plucked for his degree
at his first examination, and, on a second trial, only obtained his B.A.
“by special favour.” He next came to England, and for eleven years acted
as private secretary to Sir William Temple, a retired statesman and
ambassador, who lived at Moor Park, near Richmond-on-Thames. In 1692 he
paid a visit to Oxford, and there obtained the degree of M.A. In 1700 he
went to Ireland with Lord Berkeley as his chaplain, and while in that
country was presented with several livings. He at first attached himself
to the Whig party, but stung by this party’s neglect of his labours and
merits, he joined the Tories, who raised him to the Deanery of
St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. But, though nominally resident in
Dublin, he spent a large part of his time in London. Here he knew and
met everybody who was worth knowing, and for some time he was the most
imposing figure, and wielded the greatest influence in all the best
social, political, and literary circles of the capital. In 1714, on the
death of Queen Anne, Swift’s hopes of further advancement died out; and
he returned to his Deanery, settled in Dublin, and “commenced Irishman
for life.” A man of strong passions, he usually spent his birthday in
reading that chapter of the Book of Job which contains the verse, “Let
the day perish in which I was born.” He died insane in 1745, and left
his fortune to found a lunatic asylum in Dublin. One day, when taking a
walk with a friend, he saw a blasted elm, and, pointing to it, he said:
“I shall be like that tree, and die first at the top.” For the last
three years of his life he never spoke one word.

6. Swift has written verse; but it is his prose-works that give him his
high and unrivalled place in English literature. His most powerful work,
published in 1704, is the +Tale of a Tub+-- a satire on the disputes
between the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian Churches. His
best known prose-work is the +Gulliver’s Travels+, which appeared in
1726. This work is also a satire; but it is a satire on men and women,--
on humanity. “The power of Swift’s prose,” it has been said by an able
critic, “was the terror of his own, and remains the wonder of after
times.” His style is strong, simple, straightforward; he uses the
plainest words and the homeliest English, and every blow tells. Swift’s
style-- as every genuine style does-- reflects the author’s character.
He was an ardent lover and a good hater. Sir Walter Scott describes him
as “tall, strong, and well made, dark in complexion, but with bright
blue eyes (Pope said they were “as azure as the heavens”), black and
bushy eyebrows, aquiline nose, and features which expressed the stern,
haughty, and dauntless turn of his mind.” He grew savage under the
slightest contradiction; and dukes and great lords were obliged to pay
court to him. His prose was as trenchant and powerful as were his
manners: it has been compared to “cold steel.” His own definition of a
good style is “proper words in proper places.”

7. JOSEPH ADDISON (+1672-1719+), the most elegant prose-writer-- as Pope
was the most polished verse-writer-- of the eighteenth century, was born
at Milston, in Wiltshire, in the year 1672. He was educated at
Charterhouse School, in London, where one of his friends and companions
was the celebrated Dick Steele-- afterwards Sir Richard Steele. He then
went to Oxford, where he made a name for himself by his beautiful
compositions in Latin verse. In 1695 he addressed a poem to King
William; and this poem brought him into notice with the Government of
the day. Not long after, he received a pension of £300 a-year, to enable
him to travel; and he spent some time in France and Italy. The chief
result of this tour was a poem entitled +A Letter from Italy+ to Lord
Halifax. In 1704, when Lord Godolphin was in search of a poet who should
celebrate in an adequate style the striking victory of Blenheim, Addison
was introduced to him by Lord Halifax. His poem called +The Campaign+
was the result; and one simile in it took and held the attention of all
English readers, and of “the town.” A violent storm had passed over
England; and Addison compared the calm genius of Marlborough, who was as
cool and serene amid shot and shell as in a drawing-room or at the
dinner-table, to the Angel of the Storm. The lines are these:--

  “So when an Angel by divine command
  With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
  Such as of late o’er pale Britannia passed,
  Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
  And, pleased the Almighty’s orders to perform,
  Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm.”

For this poem Addison was rewarded with the post of Commissioner of
Appeals. He rose, successively, to be Under Secretary of State;
Secretary for Ireland; and, finally, Secretary of State for England-- an
office which would correspond to that of our present Home Secretary. He
married the Countess of Warwick, to whose son he had been tutor; but it
was not a happy marriage. Pope says of him in regard to it, that--

  “He married discord in a noble wife.”

He died at Holland House, Kensington, London, in the year 1719, at the
age of forty-seven.

8. But it is not at all as a poet, but as a prose-writer, that Addison
is famous in the history of literature. While he was in Ireland, his
friend Steele started +The Tatler+, in 1709; and Addison sent numerous
contributions to this little paper. In 1711, Steele began a still more
famous paper, which he called +The Spectator+; and Addison’s writings in
this morning journal made its reputation. His contributions are
distinguishable by being signed with some one of the letters of the name
_Clio_-- the Muse of History. A third paper, +The Guardian+, appeared a
few years after; and Addison’s contributions to it are designated by a
hand ([->]) at the foot of each. In addition to his numerous
prose-writings, Addison brought out the tragedy of +Cato+ in 1713. It
was very successful; but it is now neither read nor acted. Some of his
hymns, however, are beautiful, and are well known. Such are the hymn
beginning, “The spacious firmament on high;” and his version of the 23d
Psalm, “The Lord my pasture shall prepare.”

9. Addison’s prose style is inimitable, easy, graceful, full of humour--
full of good humour, delicate, with a sweet and kindly rhythm, and
always musical to the ear. He is the most graceful of social satirists;
and his genial creation of the character of +Sir Roger de Coverley+ will
live for ever. While his work in verse is never more than second-rate,
his writings in prose are always first-rate. Dr Johnson said of his
prose: “Whoever wishes to attain an English style-- familiar but not
coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious,-- must give his days and
nights to the study of Addison.” Lord Lytton also remarks: “His style
has that nameless urbanity in which we recognise the perfection of
manner; courteous, but not courtier-like; so dignified, yet so kindly;
so easy, yet high-bred. It is the most perfect form of English.” His
style, however, must be acknowledged to want force-- to be easy rather
than vigorous; and it has not the splendid march of Jeremy Taylor, or
the noble power of Savage Landor.

10. RICHARD STEELE (+1671-1729+), commonly called “Dick Steele,” the
friend and colleague of Addison, was born in Dublin, but of English
parents, in the year 1671. The two friends were educated at Charterhouse
and at Oxford together; and they remained friends, with some slight
breaks and breezes, to the close of life. Steele was a writer of plays,
essays, and pamphlets-- for one of which he was expelled from the House
of Commons; but his chief fame was earned in connection with the Society
Journals, which he founded. He started many-- such as +Town-Talk+, +The
Tea-Table+, +Chit-Chat+; but only the +Tatler+ and the +Spectator+ rose
to success and to fame. The strongest quality in his writing is his
pathos: the source of tears is always at his command; and, although
himself of a gay and even rollicking temperament, he seems to have
preferred this vein. The literary skill of Addison-- his happy art in
the choosing of words-- did not fall to the lot of Steele; but he is
more hearty and more human in his description of character. He died in
1729, ten years after the departure of his friend Addison.

11. ALEXANDER POPE (+1688-1744+), the greatest poet of the eighteenth
century, was born in Lombard Street, London, in the year of the
Revolution, 1688. His father was a wholesale linendraper, who, having
amassed a fortune, retired to Binfield, on the borders of Windsor
Forest. In the heart of this beautiful country young Pope’s youth was
spent. On the death of his father, Pope left Windsor and took up his
residence at Twickenham, on the banks of the Thames, where he remained
till his death in 1744. His parents being Roman Catholics, it was
impossible for young Pope to go either to a public school or to one of
the universities; and hence he was educated privately. At the early age
of eight, he met with a translation of Homer in verse; and this volume
became his companion night and day. At the age of ten, he turned some of
the events described in Homer into a play. The poems of Spenser, the
poets’ poet, were his next favourites; but the writer who made the
deepest and most lasting impression upon his mind was Dryden. Little
Pope began to write verse very early. He says of himself--

  “As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
  I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.”

His +Ode to Solitude+ was written at the age of twelve; his +Pastorals+
when he was fifteen. His +Essay on Criticism+, which was composed in his
twentieth year, though not published till 1711, established his
reputation as a writer of neat, clear, sparkling, and elegant verse. The
+Rape of the Lock+ raised his reputation still higher. Macaulay
pronounced it his best poem. De Quincey declared it to be “the most
exquisite monument of playful fancy that universal literature offers.”
Another critic has called it the “perfection of the mock-heroic.” Pope’s
most successful poem-- if we measure it by the fame and the money it
brought him-- was his translation of the +Iliad+ of Homer. A great
scholar said of this translation that it was “a very pretty poem, but
not Homer.” The fact is that Pope did not translate directly from the
Greek, but from a French or a Latin version which he kept beside him.
Whatever its faults, and however great its deficiency as a
representation of the powerful and deep simplicity of the original
Greek, no one can deny the charm and finish of its versification, or the
rapidity, facility, and melody of the flow of the verse. These qualities
make this work unique in English poetry.

12. After finishing the +Iliad+, Pope undertook a translation of the
+Odyssey+ of Homer. This was not so successful; nor was it so well done.
In fact, Pope translated only half of it himself; the other half was
written by two scholars called Broome and Fenton. His next great poem
was the +Dunciad+,-- a satire upon those petty writers, carping critics,
and hired defamers who had tried to write down the reputation of Pope’s
Homeric work. “The composition of the ‘Dunciad’ revealed to Pope where
his true strength lay, in blending personalities with moral

13. Pope’s greatest works were written between 1730 and 1740; and they
consist of the +Moral Essays+, the +Essay on Man+, and the +Epistles and
Satires+. These poems are full of the finest thoughts, expressed in the
most perfect form. Mr Ruskin quotes the couplet--

  “Never elated, while one man’s oppressed;
  Never dejected, whilst another’s blessed,”--

as “the most complete, concise, and lofty expression of moral temper
existing in English words.” The poem of Pope which shows his best and
most striking qualities in their most characteristic form, is probably
the +Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot+ or +Prologue to the Satires+. In this poem
occur the celebrated lines about Addison-- which make a perfect
portrait, although it is far from being a true likeness.

His pithy lines and couplets have obtained a permanent place in
literature. Thus we have:--

  “True wit is nature to advantage dressed,
  What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.”

  “Good-nature and good-sense must ever join.
  To err is human, to forgive divine.”

  “All seems infected that the infected spy,
  As all looks yellow to the jaundic’d eye.”

  “Fear not the anger of the wise to raise;
  Those best can bear reproof who merit praise.”

The greatest conciseness is visible in his epigrams and in his

  “A vile encomium doubly ridicules:
  There’s nothing blackens like the ink of fools.”

  “And not a vanity is given in vain.”

  “Would ye be blest? despise low joys, low gains,
  Disdain whatever Cornbury disdains,
  Be virtuous, and be happy for your pains.”

14. Pope is the foremost literary figure of his age and century; and he
is also the head of a school. He brought to perfection a style of
writing verse which was followed by hundreds of clever writers. Cowper
says of him:--

  “But Pope-- his musical finesse was such,
  So nice his ear, so delicate his touch,--
  Made poetry a mere mechanic art,
  And every warbler has his tune by heart.”

Pope was not the poet of nature or of humanity; he was the poet of “the
town,” and of the Court. He was greatly influenced by the neatness and
polish of French verse; and, from his boyhood, his great ambition was to
be “a correct poet.” He worked and worked, polished and polished, until
each idea had received at his hands its very neatest and most
epigrammatic expression. In the art of condensed, compact, pointed, and
yet harmonious and flowing verse, Pope has no equal. But, as a vehicle
for poetry-- for the love and sympathy with nature and man which every
true poet must feel, Pope’s verse is artificial; and its style of
expression has now died out. It was one of the chief missions of
Wordsworth to drive the Popian second-hand vocabulary out of existence.

15. JAMES THOMSON (+1700-1748+), the poet of +The Seasons+, was born at
Ednam in Roxburghshire, Scotland, in the year 1700. He was educated at
the grammar-school of Jedburgh, and then at the University of Edinburgh.
It was intended that he should enter the ministry of the Church of
Scotland; but, before his college course was finished, he had given up
this idea: poetry proved for him too strong a magnet. While yet a young
man, he had written his poem of +Winter+; and, with that in his pocket,
he resolved to try his fortune in London. While walking about the
streets, looking at the shops, and gazing at the new wonders of the vast
metropolis, his pocket was picked of his pocket-handkerchief and his
letters of introduction; and he found himself alone in London-- thrown
entirely on his own resources. A publisher was, however, in time found
for +Winter+; and the poem slowly rose into appreciation and popularity.
This was in 1726. Next year, +Summer+; two years after, +Spring+
appeared; while +Autumn+, in 1730, completed the +Seasons+. The +Castle
of Indolence+-- a poem in the Spenserian stanza-- appeared in 1748. In
the same year he was appointed Surveyor-General of the Leeward Islands,
though he never visited the scene of his duty, but had his work done by
deputy. He died at Kew in the year 1748.

16. Thomson’s place as a poet is high in the second rank. His +Seasons+
have always been popular; and, when Coleridge found a well-thumbed and
thickly dog’s-eared copy lying on the window-sill of a country inn, he
exclaimed “This is true fame!” His +Castle of Indolence+ is, however,
a finer piece of poetical work than any of his other writings. The first
canto is the best. But the +Seasons+ have been much more widely read;
and a modern critic says: “No poet has given the special pleasure which
poetry is capable of giving to so large a number of persons in so large
a measure as Thomson.” Thomson is very unequal in his style. Sometimes
he rises to a great height of inspired expression; at other times he
sinks to a dull dead level of pedestrian prose. His power of describing
scenery is often very remarkable. Professor Craik says: “There is no
other poet who surrounds us with so much of the truth of nature;” and he
calls the +Castle of Indolence+ “one of the gems of the language.”

17. THOMAS GRAY (+1716-1771+), the greatest elegiac poet of the century,
was born in London in 1716. His father was a “money-scrivener,” as it
was called; in other words, he was a stock-broker. His mother’s brother
was an assistant-master at Eton; and at Eton, under the care of this
uncle, Gray was brought up. One of his schoolfellows was the famous
Horace Walpole. After leaving school, Gray proceeded to Cambridge; but,
instead of reading mathematics, he studied classical literature,
history, and modern languages, and never took his degree. After some
years spent at Cambridge, he entered himself of the Inner Temple; but he
never gave much time to the study of law. His father died in 1741; and
Gray, soon after, gave up the law and went to live entirely at
Cambridge. The first published of his poems was the +Ode on a Distant
Prospect of Eton College+. The +Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard+
was handed about in manuscript before its publication in 1750; and it
made his reputation at once. In 1755 the +Progress of Poesy+ was
published; and the ode entitled +The Bard+ was begun. In 1768 he was
appointed Professor of Modern History at Cambridge; but, though he
studied hard, he never lectured. He died at Cambridge, at the age of
fifty-four, in the year 1771. Gray was never married. He was said by
those who knew him to be the most learned man of his time in Europe.
Literature, history, and several sciences-- all were thoroughly known to
him. He had read everything in the world that was best worth reading;
while his knowledge of botany, zoology, and entomology was both wide and

18. Gray’s +Elegy+ took him seven years to write; it contains thirty-two
stanzas; and Mr Palgrave says “they are perhaps the noblest stanzas in
the language.” General Wolfe, when sailing down to attack Quebec,
recited the Elegy to his officers, and declared, “Now, gentlemen,
I would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec.” Lord Byron
called the Elegy “the corner-stone of Gray’s poetry.” Gray ranks with
Milton as the most finished workman in English verse; and certainly he
spared no pains. Gray said himself that “the style he aimed at was
extreme conciseness of expression, yet pure, perspicuous, and musical;”
and this style, at which he aimed, he succeeded fully in achieving. One
of the finest stanzas in the whole Elegy is the last, which the writer
omitted in all the later editions:--

  “There scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
    By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
  The red-breast loves to build and warble there,
    And little footsteps lightly print the ground.”

19. WILLIAM COLLINS (+1721-1759+), one of the truest lyrical poets of
the century, was born at Chichester on Christmas-day, 1721. He was
educated at Winchester School; afterwards at Queen’s, and also at
Magdalen College, Oxford. Before he left school he had written a set of
poems called +Persian Eclogues+. He left the university with a
reputation for ability and for indolence; went to London “with many
projects in his head and little money in his pocket;” and there found a
kind and fast friend in Dr Johnson. His +Odes+ appeared in 1747. The
volume fell stillborn from the press: not a single copy was sold; no one
bought, read, or noticed it. In a fit of furious despair, the unhappy
author called in the whole edition and burnt every copy with his own
hands. And yet it was, with the single exception of the songs of Burns,
the truest poetry that had appeared in the whole of the eighteenth
century. A great critic says: “In the little book there was hardly a
single false note: there was, above all things, a purity of music,
a clarity of style, to which I know of no parallel in English verse from
the death of Andrew Marvell to the birth of William Blake.” Soon after
this great disappointment he went to live at Richmond, where he formed a
friendship with Thomson and other poets. In 1749 he wrote the +Ode on
the Death of Thomson+, beginning--

  “In yonder grave a Druid lies”--

one of the finest of his poems. Not long after, he was attacked by a
disease of the brain, from which he suffered, at intervals, during the
remainder of his short life. He died at Chichester in 1759, at the age
of thirty-eight.

20. Collins’s best poem is the +Ode to Evening+; his most elaborate, the
+Ode on the Passions+; and his best known, the +Ode+ beginning--

  “How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
  By all their country’s wishes blessed!”

His latest and best critic says of his poems: “His range of flight was
perhaps the narrowest, but assuredly the highest, of his generation. He
could not be taught singing like a finch, but he struck straight upward
for the sun like a lark.... The direct sincerity and purity of their
positive and straightforward inspiration will always keep his poems
fresh and sweet in the senses of all men. He was a solitary song-bird
among many more or less excellent pipers and pianists. He could put more
spirit of colour into a single stroke, more breath of music into a
single note, than could all the rest of his generation into all the
labours of their lives.”



1. +Prose-Writers.+-- The four greatest prose-writers of the latter half
of the eighteenth century are +Johnson+, +Goldsmith+, +Burke+, and
+Gibbon+. Dr Johnson was the most prominent literary figure in London at
this period; and filled in his own time much the same position that
Carlyle lately held in literary circles. He wrote on many subjects-- but
chiefly on literature and morals; and hence he was called “The Great
Moralist.” Goldsmith stands out clearly as the writer of the most
pleasant and easy prose; his pen was ready for any subject; and it has
been said of him with perfect truth, that he touched nothing that he did
not adorn. Burke was the most eloquent writer of his time, and by far
the greatest political thinker that England has ever produced. He is
known by an essay he wrote when a very young man-- on “The Sublime and
Beautiful”; but it is to his speeches and political writings that we
must look for his noblest thoughts and most eloquent language. Gibbon is
one of the greatest historians and most powerful writers the world has
ever seen.

2. SAMUEL JOHNSON (+1709-1784+), the great essayist and lexicographer,
was born at Lichfield in the year 1709. His father was a bookseller; and
it was in his father’s shop that Johnson acquired his habit of
omnivorous reading, or rather devouring of books. The mistress of the
dame’s school, to which he first went, declared him to be the best
scholar she ever had. After a few years at the free grammar-school of
Lichfield, and one year at Stourbridge, he went to Pembroke College,
Oxford, at the age of nineteen. Here he did not confine himself to the
studies of the place, but indulged in a wide range of miscellaneous
reading. He was too poor to take a degree, and accordingly left Oxford
without graduating. After acting for some time as a bookseller’s hack,
he married a Mrs Porter of Birmingham-- a widow with £800. With this
money he opened a boarding-school, or “academy” as he called it; but he
had never more than three scholars-- the most famous of whom was the
celebrated player, David Garrick. In 1737 he went up to London, and for
the next quarter of a century struggled for a living by the aid of his
pen. During the first ten years of his London life he wrote chiefly for
the ‘Gentleman’s Magazine.’ In 1738 his +London+-- a poem in heroic
metre-- appeared. In 1747 he began his famous +Dictionary+; it was
completed in 1755; and the University of Oxford conferred on him the
honorary degree of M.A. In 1749 he wrote another poem-- also in heroic
metre-- the ‘Vanity of Human Wishes.’ In 1750 he had begun the
periodical that raised his fame to its full height-- a periodical to
which he gave the name of +The Rambler+. It appeared twice a-week; and
Dr Johnson wrote every article in it for two years. In 1759 he published
the short novel called +Rasselas+: it was written to defray the expenses
of his mother’s funeral; and he wrote it “in the evenings of a week.”
The year 1762 saw him with a pension from the Government of £300 a-year;
and henceforth he was free from heavy hack-work and literary drudgery,
and could give himself up to the largest enjoyment of that for which he
cared most-- social conversation. He was the best talker of his time;
and he knew everybody worth knowing-- Burke, Goldsmith, Gibbon, the
great painter Sir Joshua Reynolds, and many other able men. In 1764 he
founded the “Literary Club,” which still exists and meets in London.
Oddly enough, although a prolific writer, it is to another person-- to
Mr James Boswell, who first met him in 1763-- that he owes his greatest
and most lasting fame. A much larger number of persons read +Boswell’s
Life of Johnson+-- one of the most entertaining books in all
literature-- than Johnson’s own works. Between the years 1779 and 1781
appeared his last and ablest work, +The Lives of the Poets+, which were
written as prefaces to a collective edition of the English Poets,
published by several London booksellers. He died in 1784.

3. Johnson’s earlier style was full of Latin words; his later style is
more purely English than most of the journalistic writing of the present
day. His Rambler is full of “long-tailed words in _osity_ and _ation_;”
but his ‘Lives of the Poets’ is written in manly, vigorous, and
idiomatic English. In verse, he occupies a place between Pope and
Goldsmith, and is one of the masters in the “didactic school” of English
poetry. His rhythm and periods are swelling and sonorous; and here and
there he equals Pope in the terseness and condensation of his language.
The following is a fair specimen:--

  “Of all the griefs that harass the distressed,
  Sure the most bitter is a scornful jest;
  Fate never wounds more deep the generous heart,
  Than when a blockhead’s insult points the dart.”

4. OLIVER GOLDSMITH (+1728-1774+), poet, essayist, historian, and
dramatist, was born at Pallas, in the county of Longford, Ireland, in
the year 1728. His father was an Irish clergyman, careless,
good-hearted, and the original of the famous Dr Primrose, in +The Vicar
of Wakefield+. He was also the original of the “village preacher” in
+The Deserted Village+.

  “A man he was to all the country dear,
  And passing rich with forty pounds a-year.”

Oliver was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; but he left it with no
fixed aim. He thought of law, and set off for London, but spent all his
money in Dublin. He thought of medicine, and resided two years in
Edinburgh. He started for Leyden, in Holland, to continue what he called
his medical studies; but he had a thirst to see the world-- and so, with
a guinea in his pocket, one shirt, and a flute, he set out on his
travels through the continent of Europe. At length, on the 1st of
February 1756, he landed at Dover, after an absence of two years,
without a farthing in his pocket. London reached, he tried many ways of
making a living, as assistant to an apothecary, physician, reader for
the press, usher in a school, writer in journals. His first work was ‘An
Inquiry into the State of Polite Learning in Europe,’ in 1759; but it
appeared without his name. From that date he wrote books of all kinds,
poems, and plays. He died in his chambers in Brick Court, Temple,
London, in 1774.

5. Goldsmith’s best poems are +The Traveller+ and +The Deserted
Village+,-- both written in the Popian couplet. His best play is +She
Stoops to Conquer+. His best prose work is +The Vicar of Wakefield+,
“the first genuine novel of domestic life.” He also wrote histories of
England, of Rome, of Animated Nature. All this was done as professional,
nay, almost as hack work; but always in a very pleasant, lively, and
readable style. Ease, grace, charm, naturalness, pleasant rhythm, purity
of diction-- these were the chief characteristics of his writings.
“Almost to all things could he turn his hand”-- poem, essay, play,
story, history, natural science. Even when satirical, he was
good-natured; and his +Retaliation+ is the friendliest and pleasantest
of satires. In his poetry, his words seem artless, but are indeed
delicately chosen with that consummate art which conceals and effaces
itself: where he seems most simple and easy, there he has taken most
pains and given most labour.

6. EDMUND BURKE (+1730-1797+) was born at Dublin in the year 1730. He
was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; and in 1747 was entered of the
Middle Temple, with the purpose of reading for the Bar. In 1766 he was
so fortunate as to enter Parliament as member for Wendover, in
Buckinghamshire; and he sat in the House of Commons for nearly thirty
years. While in Parliament, he worked hard to obtain justice for the
colonists of North America, and to avert the separation of them from the
mother country; and also to secure good government for India. At the
close of his life, it was his intention to take his seat in the House of
Peers as Earl Beaconsfield-- the title afterwards assumed by
Mr Disraeli; but the death of his son, and only child-- for whom the
honour was really meant and wished-- quite broke his heart, and he never
carried out his purpose. He died at Beaconsfield in the year 1797. The
lines of Goldsmith on Burke, in his poem of “Retaliation,” are well

  “Here lies our good Edmund, whose genius was such
  We scarcely can praise it or blame it too much;
  Who, born for the universe, narrowed his mind,
  And to party gave up what was meant for mankind;
  Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining,
  And thought of convincing while they thought of dining.”

7. Burke’s most famous writings are +Thoughts on the Cause of the
present Discontents+, published in 1773; +Reflections on the Trench
Revolution+ (1790); and the +Letters on a Regicide Peace+ (1797). His
“Thoughts” is perhaps the best of his works in point of style; his
“Reflections,” are full of passages of the highest and most noble
eloquence. Burke has been described by a great critic as “the supreme
writer of the century;” and Macaulay says, that “in richness of
imagination, he is superior to every orator ancient and modern.” In the
power of expressing thought in the strongest, fullest, and most vivid
manner, he must be classed with Shakespeare and Bacon-- and with these
writers when at their best. He indulges in repetitions; but the
repetitions are never monotonous; they serve to place the subject in
every possible point of view, and to enable us to see all sides of it.
He possessed an enormous vocabulary, and had the fullest power over it;
“never was a man under whose hands language was more plastic and
ductile.” He is very fond of metaphor, and is described by an able
critic as “the greatest master of metaphor that the world has ever

8. EDWARD GIBBON (+1737-1794+), the second great prose-writer of the
second half of the eighteenth century, was born at Putney, London, in
1737. His father was a wealthy landowner. Young Gibbon was a very sickly
child-- the only survivor of a delicate family of seven; he was left to
pass his time as he pleased, and for the most part to educate himself.
But he had the run of several good libraries; and he was an eager and
never satiated reader. He was sent to Oxford at the early age of
fifteen; and so full was his knowledge in some directions, and so
defective in others, that he went there, he tells us himself, “with a
stock of knowledge that might have puzzled a doctor, and a degree of
ignorance of which a schoolboy would have been ashamed.” He was very
fond of disputation while at Oxford; and the Dons of the University were
astonished to see the pathetic “thin little figure, with a large head,
disputing and arguing with the greatest ability.” In the course of his
reading, he lighted on some French and English books that convinced him
for the time of the truth of the Roman Catholic faith; he openly
professed his change of belief; and this obliged him to leave the
University. His father sent him to Lausanne, and placed him under the
care of a Swiss clergyman there, whose arguments were at length
successful in bringing him back to a belief in Protestantism. On his
return to England in 1758, he lived in his father’s house in Hampshire;
read largely, as usual; but also joined the Hampshire militia as captain
of a company, and the exercises and manœuvres of his regiment gave him
an insight into military matters which was afterwards useful to him when
he came to write history. He published his first work in 1761. It was an
essay on the study of literature, and was written in French. In 1770 his
father died; he came into a fortune, entered Parliament, where he sat
for eight years, but never spoke; and, in 1776, he began his history of
the +Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire+. This, by far the greatest of
his works, was not completed till 1787, and was published in 1788, on
his fifty-first birthday. His account of the completion of the work-- it
was finished at Lausanne, where he had lived for six years-- is full of
beauty: “It was on the day, or rather night, of June 27, 1787, between
the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last
page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took
several turns in a covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of
the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky
was serene. The silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters,
and all nature was silent. I will not describe the first emotion of joy
on the recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame.
But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my
mind by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and
agreeable companion, and that, whatever might be the future fate of my
history, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.” Gibbon
died in 1794, about one year before the birth of another great
historian, Grote, the author of the ‘History of Greece.’

9. Gibbon’s book is one of the great historical works of the world. It
covers a space of about thirteen centuries, from the reign of Trajan
(98), to the fall of the Eastern Empire in 1453; and the amount of
reading and study required to write it, must have been almost beyond the
power of our conceiving. The skill in arranging and disposing the
enormous mass of matter in his history is also unparalleled. His style
is said by a critic to be “copious, splendid, elegantly rounded,
distinguished by supreme artificial skill.” It is remarkable for the
proportion of Latin words employed. While some parts of our translation
of the Bible contain as much as 96 per cent of pure English words,
Gibbon has only 58 per cent: the rest, or 42 per cent, are words of
Latin origin. In fact, of all our great English writers, Gibbon stands
lowest in his use of pure English words; and the two writers who come
nearest him in this respect are Johnson and Swift. The great Greek
scholar, Professor Porson, said of Gibbon’s style, that “there could not
be a better exercise for a schoolboy than to turn a page of it into

10. +Poets.+-- The chief poets of the latter half of the eighteenth
century belong to a new world, and show very little trace in their
writings of eighteenth-century culture, ideas, or prejudices. Most of
the best poets who were born in this half of the eighteenth century and
began to write in it-- such as Crabbe and Wordsworth-- are true
denizens, in the character of their minds and feelings, of the
nineteenth. The greatest poets of the period are +Cowper+, +Crabbe+, and
+Burns+; and along with these may be mentioned as little inferior,
+Chatterton+ and +Blake+, two of the most original poets that have
appeared in any literature.

11. WILLIAM COWPER (+1731-1800+), one of the truest, purest, and
sweetest of English poets, was born at Great Berkhampstead, in
Hertfordshire, in 1731. His father, Dr Cowper, who was a nephew of Lord
Chancellor Cowper, was rector of the parish, and chaplain to George II.
Young Cowper was educated at Westminster School; and “the great
proconsul of India,” Warren Hastings, was one of his schoolfellows.
After leaving Westminster, he was entered of the Middle Temple, and was
also articled to a solicitor. At the age of thirty-one he was appointed
one of the Clerks to the House of Lords; but he was so terribly nervous
and timid, that he threw up the appointment. He was next appointed Clerk
of the Journals-- a post which even the shyest man might hold; but, when
he found that he would have to appear at the bar of the House of Lords,
he went home and attempted to commit suicide. When at school, he had
been terribly and persistently bullied; and, about this time, his mind
had been somewhat affected by a disappointment in love. The form of his
insanity was melancholia; and he had several long and severe attacks of
the same disease in the after-course of his life. He had to be placed in
the keeping of a physician; and it was only after fifteen months’
seclusion that he was able to face the world. Giving up all idea of
professional or of public life, he went to live at Huntingdon with the
Unwins; and, after the death of Mr Unwin, he removed with Mrs Unwin to
Olney, in Buckinghamshire. Here, in 1773, another attack of melancholia
came upon him. In 1779, Cowper joined with Mr Newton, the curate of the
parish, in publishing the +Olney Hymns+, of which he wrote sixty-eight.
But it was not till he was past fifty years of age that he betook
himself seriously to the writing of poetry. His first volume, which
contained +Table-Talk+, +Conversation+, +Retirement+, and other poems in
heroic metre, appeared in 1782. His second volume, which included +The
Task+ and +John Gilpin+, was published in 1785. His translation of the
+Iliad+ and +Odyssey+ of Homer-- a translation into blank verse, which
he wrote at the regular rate of forty lines a-day-- was published in
1791. Mrs Unwin now had a shock of paralysis; Cowper himself was again
seized with mental illness; and from 1791 till his death in 1800, his
condition was one of extreme misery, depression, and despair. He thought
himself an outcast from the mercy of God. “I seem to myself,” he wrote
to a friend, “to be scrambling always in the dark, among rocks and
precipices, without a guide, but with an enemy ever at my heels,
prepared to push me headlong.” The cloud never lifted; gloom and
dejection enshrouded all his later years; a pension of £300 a-year from
George III. brought him no pleasure; and he died insane, at East
Dereham, in Norfolk, in the year 1800. In the poem of +The Castaway+ he
compares himself to a drowning sailor:--

  “No voice divine the storm allayed,
    No light propitious shone,
  When, far from all effectual aid,
    We perished-- each alone--
  But I beneath a rougher sea,
  And whelmed in blacker gulfs than he.”

12. His greatest work is +The Task+; and the best poem in it is probably
“The Winter Evening.” His best-known poem is +John Gilpin+, which, like
“The Task,” he wrote at the request of his friend, Lady Austen. His most
powerful poem is +The Castaway+. He always writes in clear, crisp,
pleasant, and manly English. He himself says, in a letter to a friend:
“Perspicuity is always more than half the battle... A meaning that does
not stare you in the face is as bad as no meaning;” and this direction
he himself always carried out. Cowper’s poems mark a new era in poetry;
his style is new, and his ideas are new. He is no follower of Pope;
Southey compared Pope and Cowper as “formal gardens in comparison with
woodland scenery.” He is always original, always true-- true to his own
feeling, and true to the object he is describing. “My descriptions,” he
writes of “The Task,” “are all from nature; not one of them
second-handed. My delineations of the heart are from my own experience.”
Everywhere in his poems we find a genuine love of nature; humour and
pathos in his description of persons; and a purity and honesty of style
that have never been surpassed. Many of his well-put lines have passed
into our common stock of everyday quotations. Such are--

  “God made the country, and man made the town.”

      “Variety’s the very spice of life
  That gives it all its flavour.”

                  “The heart
  May give a useful lesson to the head,
  And Learning wiser grow without his books.”

  “Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day,
  Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.”

13. GEORGE CRABBE (+1754-1832+), the poet of the poor, was born at
Aldborough, in Suffolk, on Christmas Eve of the year 1754. He stands
thus midway between Goldsmith and Wordsworth-- midway between the old
and the new school of poetry. His father was salt-master-- or collector
of salt duties-- at the little seaport. After being taught a little at
several schools, it was agreed that George should be made a surgeon. He
was accordingly apprenticed; but he was fonder of writing verses than of
attending cases. His memory for poetry was astonishing; he had begun to
write verses at the age of fourteen; and he filled the drawers of the
surgery with his poetical attempts. After a time he set up for himself
in practice at Aldborough; but most of his patients were poor people and
poor relations, who paid him neither for his physic nor his advice. In
1779 he resolved “to go to London and venture all.” Accordingly, he took
a berth on board of a sailing-packet, carrying with him a little money
and a number of manuscript poems. But nothing succeeded with him; he was
reduced to his last eightpence. In this strait, he wrote to the great
statesman, Edmund Burke; and, while the answer was coming, he walked all
night up and down Westminster Bridge. Burke took him in to his own house
and found a publisher for his poems.

14. In 1781 +The Library+ appeared; and in the same year Crabbe entered
the Church. In 1783 he published +The Village+-- a poem which Dr Johnson
revised for him. This work won for him an established reputation; but,
for twenty-four years after, Crabbe gave himself up entirely to the care
of his parish, and published only one poem-- +The Newspaper+. In 1807
appeared +The Parish Register+; in 1810, +The Borough+; in 1812, +Tales
in Verse+; and, in 1819, his last poetical work, +Tales of the Hall+.
From this time, till his death in 1832-- thirteen years after-- he
produced no other poem. Personally, he was one of the noblest and
kindest of men; he was known as “the gentleman with the sour name and
the sweet countenance;” and he spent most of his income on the wants of

15. Crabbe’s poetical work forms a prominent landmark in English
literature. His style is the style of the eighteenth century-- with a
strong admixture of his own; his way of thinking, and the objects he
selects for description, belong to the nineteenth. While Pope depicted
“the town,” politics, and abstract moralities, Crabbe describes the
country and the country poor, social matters, real life-- the lowest and
poorest life, and more especially, the intense misery of the village
population of his time in the eastern counties--

            “the wild amphibious race
  With sullen woe displayed in every face.”

He does not paint the lot of the poor with the rose-coloured tints used
by Goldsmith; he boldly denies the existence of such a village as
Auburn; he groups such places with Eden, and says--

  “Auburn and Eden can be found no more;”

he shows the gloomy, hard, despairing side of English country life. He
has been called a “Pope in worsted stockings,” and “the Hogarth, of
song.” Byron describes him as

  “Nature’s sternest painter, yet the best.”

Now and then his style is flat, and even coarse; but there is everywhere
a genuine power of strong and bold painting. He is also an excellent
master of easy dialogue.

All of his poems are written in the Popian couplet of two ten-syllabled

16. ROBERT BURNS (+1759-1796+), the greatest poet of Scotland, was born
in Ayrshire, two miles from the town of Ayr, in 1759. The only education
he received from his father was the schooling of a few months; but the
family were fond of reading, and Robert was the most enthusiastic reader
of them all. Every spare moment he could find-- and they were not many--
he gave to reading; he sat at meals “with a book in one hand and a spoon
in the other;” and in this way he read most of the great English poets
and prose-writers. This was an excellent education-- one a great deal
better than most people receive; and some of our greatest men have had
no better. But, up to the age of sixteen, he had to toil on his father’s
farm from early morning till late at night. In the intervals of his work
he contrived, by dint of thrift and industry, to learn French,
mathematics, and a little Latin. On the death of his father, he took a
small farm, but did not succeed. He was on the point of embarking for
Jamaica, where a post had been found for him, when the news of the
successful sale of a small volume of his poems reached him; and he at
once changed his mind, and gave up all idea of emigrating. His friends
obtained for him a post as exciseman, in which his duty was to gauge the
quantity and quality of ardent spirits-- a post full of dangers to a man
of his excitable and emotional temperament. He went a great deal into
what was called society, formed the acquaintance of many boon
companions, acquired habits of intemperance that he could not shake off,
and died at Dumfries in 1796, in his thirty-seventh year.

17. His best poems are lyrical, and he is himself one of the foremost
lyrical poets in the world. His songs have probably been more sung, and
in more parts of the globe, than the songs of any other writer that ever
lived. They are of every kind-- songs of love, war, mirth, sorrow,
labour, and social gatherings. Professor Craik says: “One characteristic
that belongs to whatever Burns has written is that, of its kind and in
its own way, it is a perfect production. His poetry is, throughout, real
emotion melodiously uttered, instinct with passion, but not less so with
power of thought,-- full of light as well as of fire.” Most of his poems
are written in the North-English, or Lowland-Scottish, dialect. The most
elevated of his poems is +The Vision+, in which he relates how the
Scottish Muse found him at the plough, and crowned him with a wreath of
holly. One of his longest, as well as finest poems, is +The Cottar’s
Saturday Night+, which is written in the Spenserian stanza. Perhaps his
most pathetic poem is that entitled +To Mary in Heaven+. It is of a
singular eloquence, elevation, and sweetness. The first verse runs

  “Thou lingering star, with lessening ray,
    That lov’st to greet the early morn,
  Again thou usher’st in the day
    My Mary from my soul was torn.
  O Mary! dear departed shade!
    Where is thy place of blissful rest?
  See’st thou thy lover lowly laid?
    Hear’st thou the groans that rend his breast?”

He is, as his latest critic says, “the poet of homely human nature;” and
his genius shows the beautiful elements in this homeliness; and that
what is homely need not therefore be dull and prosaic.

18. THOMAS CHATTERTON and WILLIAM BLAKE are two minor poets, of whom
little is known and less said, but whose work is of the most poetical
and genuine kind. --Chatterton was born at Bristol in the year 1752. He
was the son of a schoolmaster, who died before he was born. He was
educated at Colston’s Blue-Coat School in Bristol; and, while at school,
read his way steadily through every book in three circulating libraries.
He began to write verses at the age of fifteen, and in two years had
produced a large number of poems-- some of them of the highest value. In
1770, he came up to London, with something under five pounds in his
pocket, and his mind made up to try his fortune as a literary man,
resolved, though he was only a boy of seventeen, to live by literature
or to die. Accordingly, he set to work and wrote every kind of
productions-- poems, essays, stories, political articles, songs for
public singers; and all the time he was half starving. A loaf of bread
lasted him a week; and it was “bought stale to make it last longer.” He
had made a friend of the Lord Mayor, Beckford; but before he had time to
hold out a hand to the struggling boy, Beckford died. The struggle
became harder and harder-- more and more hopeless; his neighbours
offered a little help-- a small coin or a meal-- he rejected all; and at
length, on the evening of the 24th August 1770, he went up to his
garret, locked himself in, tore up all his manuscripts, took poison, and
died. He was only seventeen.

19. Wordsworth and Coleridge spoke with awe of his genius; Keats
dedicated one of his poems to his memory; and Coleridge copied some of
his rhythms. One of his best poems is the +Minstrel’s Roundelay+--

  “O sing unto my roundelay,
    O drop the briny tear with me,
  Dance no more on holy-day,
    Like a running river be.
        My love is dead,
        Gone to his death-bed
          All under the willow-tree.

  “Black his hair as the winter night,
    White his skin as the summer snow,
  Red his face as the morning light,
    Cold he lies in the grave below.
        My love is dead,
        Gone to his death-bed
          All under the willow-tree.”

20. WILLIAM BLAKE (+1757-1827+), one of the most original poets that
ever lived, was born in London in the year 1757. He was brought up as an
engraver; worked steadily at his business, and did a great deal of
beautiful work in that capacity. He in fact illustrated his own poems--
each page being set in a fantastic design of his own invention, which he
himself engraved. He was also his own printer and publisher. The first
volume of his poems was published in 1783; the +Songs of Innocence+,
probably his best, appeared in 1787. He died in Fountain Court, Strand,
London, in the year 1827.

21. His latest critic says of Blake: “His detachment from the ordinary
currents of practical thought left to his mind an unspoiled and
delightful simplicity which has perhaps never been matched in English
poetry.” Simplicity-- the perfect simplicity of a child-- beautiful
simplicity-- simple and childlike beauty,-- such is the chief note of
the poetry of Blake. “Where he is successful, his work has the fresh
perfume and perfect grace of a flower.” The most remarkable point about
Blake is that, while living in an age when the poetry of Pope-- and that
alone-- was everywhere paramount, his poems show not the smallest trace
of Pope’s influence, but are absolutely original. His work, in fact,
seems to be the first bright streak of the golden dawn that heralded the
approach of the full and splendid daylight of the poetry of Wordsworth
and Coleridge, of Shelley and Byron. His best-known poems are those from
the ‘Songs of Innocence’-- such as +Piping down the valleys wild+; +The
Lamb+; +The Tiger+, and others. Perhaps the most remarkable element in
Blake’s poetry is the sweetness and naturalness of the rhythm. It seems
careless, but it is always beautiful; it grows, it is not made; it is
like a wild field-flower thrown up by Nature in a pleasant green field.
Such are the rhythms in the poem entitled +Night+:--

  “The sun descending in the west,
  The evening star does shine;
  The birds are silent in their nest,
  And I must seek for mine.
  The moon, like a flower
  In heaven’s high bower,
  With silent delight
  Sits and smiles on the night.

  “Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
  Where flocks have ta’en delight;
  Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
  The feet of angels bright:
  Unseen they pour blessing,
  And joy without ceasing,
  On each bud and blossom,
  On each sleeping bosom.”



1. +New Ideas.+-- The end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the
nineteenth century are alike remarkable for the new powers, new ideas,
and new life thrown into society. The coming up of a high flood-tide of
new forces seems to coincide with the beginning of the French Revolution
in 1789, when the overthrow of the Bastille marked the downfall of the
old ways of thinking and acting, and announced to the world of Europe
and America that the old _régime_-- the ancient mode of governing-- was
over. Wordsworth, then a lad of nineteen, was excited by the event
almost beyond the bounds of self-control. He says in his “Excursion”--

  “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
  But to be young was very Heaven!”

It was, indeed, the dawn of a new day for the peoples of Europe. The
ideas of freedom and equality-- of respect for man as man-- were thrown
into popular form by France; they became living powers in Europe; and in
England they animated and inspired the best minds of the time-- Burns,
Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, and Byron. Along with this high tide of
hope and emotion, there was such an outburst of talent and genius in
every kind of human endeavour in England, as was never seen before
except in the Elizabethan period. Great events produced great powers;
and great powers in their turn brought about great events. The war with
America, the long struggle with Napoleon, the new political ideas, great
victories by sea and land,-- all these were to be found in the beginning
of the nineteenth century. The English race produced great men in
numbers-- almost, it might be said, in groups. We had great leaders,
like Nelson and Wellington; brilliant generals, like Sir Charles Napier
and Sir John Moore; great statesmen, like Fox and Pitt, like Washington
and Franklin; great engineers, like Stephenson and Brunel; and great
poets, like Wordsworth and Byron. And as regards literature, an able
critic remarks: “We have recovered in this century the Elizabethan magic
and passion, a more than Elizabethan sense of the beauty and complexity
of nature, the Elizabethan music of language.”

2. +Great Poets.+-- The greatest poets of the first half of the
nineteenth century may be best arranged in groups. There were
+Wordsworth+, +Coleridge+, and +Southey+-- commonly, but unnecessarily,
described as the Lake Poets. In their poetic thought and expression they
had little in common; and the fact that two of them lived most of their
lives in the Lake country, is not a sufficient justification for the use
of the term. There were +Scott+ and +Campbell+-- both of them Scotchmen.
There were +Byron+ and +Shelley+-- both Englishmen, both brought up at
the great public schools and the universities, but both carried away by
the influence of the new revolutionary ideas. Lastly, there were
+Moore+, an Irishman, and young +Keats+, the splendid promise of whose
youth went out in an early death. Let us learn a little more about each,
and in the order of the dates of their birth.

3. WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (+1770-1850+) was born at Cockermouth, a town in
Cumberland, which stands at the confluence of the Cocker and the
Derwent. His father, John Wordsworth, was law agent to Sir James
Lowther, who afterwards became Earl of Lonsdale. William was a boy of a
stiff, moody, and violent temper; and as his mother died when he was a
very little boy, and his father when he was fourteen, he grew up with
very little care from his parents and guardians. He was sent to school
at Hawkshead, in the Vale of Esthwaite, in Lancashire; and, at the age
of seventeen, proceeded to St John’s College, Cambridge. After taking
his degree of B.A. in 1791, he resided for a year in France. He took
sides with one of the parties in the Reign of Terror, and left the
country only in time to save his head. He was designed by his uncles for
the Church; but a friend, Raisley Calvert, dying, left him £900; and he
now resolved to live a plain and frugal life, to join no profession, but
to give himself wholly up to the writing of poetry. In 1798, he
published, along with his friend, S. T. Coleridge, the +Lyrical
Ballads+. The only work of Coleridge’s in this volume was the “Ancient
Mariner.” In 1802 he married Mary Hutchinson, of whom he speaks in the
well-known lines--

  “Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair,
  Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
  But all things else about her drawn
  From May-time and the cheerful dawn.”

He obtained the post of Distributor of Stamps for the county of
Westmoreland; and, after the death of Southey, he was created
+Poet-Laureate+ by the Queen. --He settled with his wife in the Lake
country; and, in 1813, took up his abode at Rydal Mount, where he lived
till his death in 1850. He died on the 23d of April-- the death-day of

4. His longest works are the +Excursion+ and the +Prelude+-- both being
parts of a longer and greater work which he intended to write on the
growth of his own mind. His best poems are his shorter pieces, such as
the poems on +Lucy+, +The Cuckoo+, the +Ode to Duty+, the +Intimations
of Immortality+, and several of his +Sonnets+. He says of his own poetry
that his purpose in writing it was “to console the afflicted; to add
sunshine to daylight by making the happy happier; to teach the young and
the gracious of every age to see, to think, and feel, and therefore to
become more actively and securely virtuous.” His poetical work is the
noble landmark of a great transition-- both in thought and in style. He
drew aside poetry from questions and interests of mere society and the
town to the scenes of Nature and the deepest feelings of man as man. In
style, he refused to employ the old artificial vocabulary which Pope and
his followers revelled in; he used the simplest words he could find;
and, when he hits the mark in his simplest form of expression, his style
is as forcible as it is true. He says of his own verse--

  “The moving accident is not my trade,
  To freeze the blood I have no ready arts;
  ’Tis my delight, alone, in summer shade,
  To pipe a simple song for _thinking hearts_.”

If one were asked what four lines of his poetry best convey the feeling
of the whole, the reply must be that these are to be found in his “Song
at the Feast of Brougham Castle,”-- lines written about “the good Lord

  “Love had he found in huts where poor men lie,
  His daily teachers had been woods and rills,--
  The silence that is in the starry sky,
  The sleep that is among the lonely hills.”

5. WALTER SCOTT (+1771-1832+), poet and novelist, the son of a Scotch
attorney (called in Edinburgh a W.S. or Writer to H.M.’s Signet), was
born there in the year 1771. He was educated at the High School, and
then at the College-- now called the University-- of Edinburgh. In 1792
he was called to the Scottish Bar, or became an “advocate.” During his
boyhood, he had had several illnesses, one of which left him lame for
life. Through those long periods of sickness and of convalescence, he
read Percy’s ‘Reliques of Ancient Poetry,’ and almost all the romances,
old plays, and epic poems that have been published in the English
language. This gave his mind and imagination a set which they never lost
all through life.

6. His first publications were translations of German poems. In the year
1805, however, an original poem, the +Lay of the Last Minstrel+,
appeared; and Scott became at one bound the foremost poet of the day.
+Marmion+, the +Lady of the Lake+, and other poems, followed with great
rapidity. But, in 1814, Scott took it into his head that his poetical
vein was worked out; the star of Byron was rising upon the literary
horizon; and he now gave himself up to novel-writing. His first novel,
+Waverley+, appeared anonymously in 1814. +Guy Mannering+, +Old
Mortality+, +Rob Roy+, and others, quickly followed; and, though the
secret of the authorship was well kept both by printer and publisher,
Walter Scott was generally believed to be the writer of these works, and
he was frequently spoken of as “the Great Unknown.” He was made a
baronet by George IV. in 1820.

7. His expenses in building Abbotsford, and his desire to acquire land,
induced him to go into partnership with Ballantyne, his printer, and
with Constable, his publisher. Both firms failed in the dark year of
1826; and Scott found himself unexpectedly liable for the large sum of
£147,000. Such a load of debt would have utterly crushed most men; but
Scott stood clear and undaunted in front of it. “Gentlemen,” he said to
his creditors, “time and I against any two. Let me take this good ally
into my company, and I believe I shall be able to pay you every
farthing.” He left his beautiful country house at Abbotsford; he gave up
all his country pleasures; he surrendered all his property to his
creditors; he took a small house in Edinburgh; and, in the short space
of five years, he had paid off £130,000. But the task was too terrible;
the pace had been too hard; and he was struck down by paralysis. But
even this disaster did not daunt him. Again he went to work, and again
he had a paralytic stroke. At last, however, he was obliged to give up;
the Government of the day placed a royal frigate at his disposal; he
went to Italy; but his health had utterly broken down, he felt he could
get no good from the air of the south, and he turned his face towards
home to die. He breathed his last breath at Abbotsford, in sight of his
beloved Tweed, with his family around him, on the 21st of September

8. His poetry is the poetry of action. In imaginative power he ranks
below no other poet, except Homer and Shakespeare. He delighted in war,
in its movement, its pageantry, and its events; and, though lame, he was
quartermaster of a volunteer corps of cavalry. On one occasion he rode
to muster one hundred miles in twenty-four hours, composing verses by
the way. Much of “+Marmion+” was composed on horseback. “I had many a
grand gallop,” he says, “when I was thinking of ‘+Marmion+.’” His two
chief powers in verse are his narrative and his pictorial power. His
boyhood was passed in the Borderland of Scotland-- “a district in which
every field has its battle and every rivulet its song;” and he was at
home in every part of the Highlands and the Lowlands, the Islands and
the Borders, of his native country. But, both in his novels and his
poems, he was a painter of action rather than of character.

9. His prose works are now much more read than his poems; but both are
full of life, power, literary skill, knowledge of men and women, and
strong sympathy with all past ages. He wrote so fast that his sentences
are often loose and ungrammatical; but they are never unidiomatic or
stiff. The rush of a strong and large life goes through them, and
carries the reader along, forgetful of all minor blemishes. His best
novels are +Old Mortality+ and +Kenilworth+; his greatest romance is

10. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE (+1772-1834+), a true poet, and a writer of
noble prose, was born at Ottery St Mary, in Devonshire, in 1772. His
father, who was vicar of the parish, and master of the grammar-school,
died when the boy was only nine years of age. He was educated at
Christ’s Hospital, in London, where his most famous schoolfellow was
Charles Lamb; and from there he went to Jesus College, Cambridge. In
1793 he had fallen into debt at College; and, in despair, left
Cambridge, and enlisted in the 15th Light Dragoons, under the name of
Silas Tomkins Comberbatch. He was quickly discovered, and his discharge
soon obtained. While on a visit to his friend Robert Southey, at
Bristol, the plan of emigrating to the banks of the Susquehanna, in
Pennsylvania, was entered on; but, when all the friends and
fellow-emigrants were ready to start, it was discovered that no one of
them had any money. --Coleridge finally became a literary man and
journalist. His real power, however, lay in poetry; but by poetry he
could not make a living. His first volume of poems was published at
Bristol, in the year 1796; but it was not till 1798 that the +Rime of
the Ancient Mariner+ appeared in the ‘Lyrical Ballads.’ His next
greatest poem, +Christabel+, though written in 1797, was not published
till the year 1816. His other best poems are +Love+; +Dejection--an
Ode+; and some of his shorter pieces. His best poetry was written about
the close of the century: “Coleridge,” said Wordsworth, “was in blossom
from 1796 to 1800.” --As a critic and prose-writer, he is one of the
greatest men of his time. His best works in prose are +The Friend+ and
the +Aids to Reflection+. He died at Highgate, near London, in the year

11. His style, both in prose and in verse, marks the beginning of the
modern era. His prose style is noble, elaborate, eloquent, and full of
subtle and involved thought; his style in verse is always musical, and
abounds in rhythms of the most startling and novel-- yet always
genuine-- kind. +Christabel+ is the poem that is most full of these fine
musical rhythms.

12. ROBERT SOUTHEY (+1774-1843+), poet, reviewer, historian, but, above
all, man of letters,-- the friend of Coleridge and Wordsworth,-- was
born at Bristol in 1774. He was educated at Westminster School and at
Balliol College, Oxford. After his marriage with Miss Edith Fricker--
a sister of Sara, the wife of Coleridge-- he settled at Greta Hall, near
Keswick, in 1803; and resided there until his death in 1843. In 1813 he
was created +Poet-Laureate+ by George III. --He was the most
indefatigable of writers. He wrote poetry before breakfast; history
between breakfast and dinner; reviews between dinner and supper; and,
even when taking a constitutional, he had always a book in his hand, and
walked along the road reading. He began to write and to publish at the
age of nineteen; he never ceased writing till the year 1837, when his
brain softened from the effects of perpetual labour.

13. Southey wrote a great deal of verse, but much more prose. His prose
works amount to more than one hundred volumes; but his poetry, such as
it is, will probably live longer than his prose. His best-known poems
are +Joan of Arc+, written when he was nineteen; +Thalaba the
Destroyer+, a poem in irregular and unrhymed verse; +The Curse of
Kehama+, in verse rhymed, but irregular; and +Roderick, the last of the
Goths+, written in blank verse. He will, however, always be best
remembered by his shorter pieces, such as +The Holly Tree+, +Stanzas
written in My Library+, and others. --His most famous prose work is the
+Life of Nelson+. His prose style is always firm, clear, compact, and

14. THOMAS CAMPBELL (+1777-1844+), a noble poet and brilliant reviewer,
was born in Glasgow in the year 1777. He was educated at the High School
and the University of Glasgow. At the age of twenty-two, he published
his +Pleasures of Hope+, which at once gave him a place high among the
poets of the day. In 1803 he removed to London, and followed literature
as his profession; and, in 1806, he received a pension of £200 a-year
from the Government, which enabled him to devote the whole of his time
to his favourite study of poetry. His best long poem is the +Gertrude of
Wyoming+, a tale written in the Spenserian stanza, which he handles with
great ease and power. But he is best known, and will be longest
remembered, for his short lyrics-- which glow with passionate and fiery
eloquence-- such as +The Battle of the Baltic+, +Ye Mariners of
England+, +Hohenlinden+, and others. He was twice Lord Rector of the
University of Glasgow. He died at Boulogne in 1844, and was buried in
Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.

15. THOMAS MOORE (+1779-1852+), poet, biographer, and historian-- but
most of all poet-- was born in Dublin in the year 1779. He began to
print verses at the age of thirteen, and may be said, like Pope, to have
“lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.” He came to London in 1799,
and was quickly received into fashionable society. In 1803 he was made
Admiralty Registrar at Bermuda; but he soon gave up the post, leaving a
deputy in his place, who, some years after, embezzled the Government
funds, and brought financial ruin upon Moore. The poet’s friends offered
to help him out of his money difficulties; but he most honourably
declined all such help, and, like Sir W. Scott, resolved to clear off
all claims against him by the aid of his pen alone. For the next twenty
years of his life he laboured incessantly; and volumes of poetry,
history, and biography came steadily from his pen. His best poems are
his +Irish Melodies+, some fifteen or sixteen of which are perfect and
imperishable; and it is as a writer of songs that Moore will live in the
literature of this country. He boasted, and with truth, that it was he
who awakened for this century the long-silent harp of his native land--

  “Dear Harp of my Country! in darkness I found thee,
    The cold chain of silence had hung o’er thee long,
  When proudly, my own Island Harp, I unbound thee,
    And gave all thy chords to light, freedom, and song.”

His best long poem is +Lalla Rookh+. --His prose works are little read
nowadays. The chief among them are his +Life of Sheridan+, and his +Life
of Lord Byron+. --He died at Sloperton, in Wiltshire, in 1852, two years
after the death of Wordsworth.

16. GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (+1788-1824+), a great English poet, was
born in London in the year 1788. He was the only child of a reckless and
unprincipled father and a passionate mother. He was educated at Harrow
School, and afterwards at Trinity College, Cambridge. His first volume--
+Hours of Idleness+-- was published in 1807, before he was nineteen.
A critique of this juvenile work which appeared in the ‘Edinburgh
Review’ stung him to passion; and he produced a very vigorous poetical
reply in +English Bards and Scotch Reviewers+. After the publication of
this book, Byron travelled in Germany, Spain, Greece, and Turkey for two
years; and the first two cantos of the poem entitled +Childe Harold’s
Pilgrimage+ were the outcome of these travels. This poem at once placed
him at the head of English poets; “he woke one morning,” he said, “and
found himself famous.” He was married in the year 1815, but left his
wife in the following year; left his native country also, never to
return. First of all he settled at Geneva, where he made the
acquaintance of the poet Shelley, and where he wrote, among other poems,
the third canto of +Childe Harold+ and the +Prisoner of Chillon+. In
1817 he removed to Venice, where he composed the fourth canto of +Childe
Harold+ and the +Lament of Tasso+; his next resting-place was Ravenna,
where he wrote several plays. Pisa saw him next; and at this place he
spent a great deal of his time in close intimacy with Shelley. In 1821
the Greek nation rose in revolt against the cruelties and oppression of
the Turkish rule; and Byron’s sympathies were strongly enlisted on the
side of the Greeks. He helped the struggling little country with
contributions of money; and, in 1823, sailed from Geneva to take a
personal share in the war of liberation. He died, however, of fever, at
Missolonghi, on the 19th of April 1824, at the age of thirty-six.

17. His best-known work is +Childe Harold+, which is written in the
Spenserian stanza. His plays, the best of which are +Manfred+ and
+Sardanapālus+, are written in blank verse. --His style is remarkable
for its strength and elasticity, for its immensely powerful sweep,
tireless energy, and brilliant illustrations.

18. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY (+1792-1822+),-- who has, like Spenser, been
called “the poet’s poet,”-- was born at Field Place, near Horsham, in
Sussex, in the year 1792. He was educated at Eton, and then at
University College, Oxford. A shy, diffident, retiring boy, with sweet,
gentle looks and manners-- like those of a girl-- but with a spirit of
the greatest fearlessness and the noblest independence, he took little
share in the sports and pursuits of his schoolfellows. Obliged to leave
Oxford, in consequence of having written a tract of which the
authorities did not approve, he married at the very early age of
nineteen. The young lady whom he married died in 1816; and he soon after
married Mary, daughter of William Godwin, the eminent author of
‘Political Justice.’ In 1818 he left England for Italy,-- like his
friend, Lord Byron, for ever. It was at Naples, Leghorn, and Pisa that
he chiefly resided. In 1822 he bought a little boat-- “a perfect
plaything for the summer,” he calls it; and he used often to make short
voyages in it, and wrote many of his poems on these occasions. When
Leigh Hunt was lying ill at Leghorn, Shelley and his friend Williams
resolved on a coasting trip to that city. They reached Leghorn in
safety; but, on the return journey, the boat sank in a sudden squall.
Captain Roberts was watching the vessel with his glass from the top of
the Leghorn lighthouse, as it crossed the Bay of Spezzia: a black cloud
arose; a storm came down; the vessels sailing with Shelley’s boat were
wrapped in darkness; the cloud passed; the sun shone out, and all was
clear again; the larger vessels rode on; but Shelley’s boat had
disappeared. The poet’s body was cast on shore, but the quarantine laws
of Italy required that everything thrown up on the coast should be
burned: no representations could alter the law; and Shelley’s ashes were
placed in a box and buried in the Protestant cemetery at Rome.

19. Shelley’s best long poem is the +Adonaïs+, an elegy on the death of
John Keats. It is written in the Spenserian stanza. But this true poet
will be best remembered by his short lyrical poems, such as +The Cloud+,
+Ode to a Skylark+, +Ode to the West Wind+, +Stanzas written in
Dejection+, and others. --Shelley has been called “the poet’s poet,”
because his style is so thoroughly transfused by pure imagination. He
has also been called “the master-singer of our modern race and age; for
his thoughts, his words, and his deeds all sang together.” He is
probably the greatest lyric poet of this century.

20. JOHN KEATS (+1795-1821+), one of our truest poets, was born in
Moorfields, London, in the year 1795. He was educated at a private
school at Enfield. His desire for the pleasures of the intellect and the
imagination showed itself very early at school; and he spent many a
half-holiday in writing translations from the Roman and the French
poets. On leaving school, he was apprenticed to a surgeon at Edmonton--
the scene of one of John Gilpin’s adventures; but, in 1817, he gave up
the practice of surgery, devoted himself entirely to poetry, and brought
out his first volume. In 1818 appeared his +Endymion+. The ‘Quarterly
Review’ handled it without mercy. Keats’s health gave way; the seeds of
consumption were in his frame; and he was ordered to Italy in 1820, as
the last chance of saving his life. But it was too late. The air of
Italy could not restore him. He settled at Rome with his friend Severn;
but, in spite of all the care, thought, devotion, and watching of his
friend, he died in 1821, at the age of twenty-five. He was buried in the
Protestant cemetery at Rome; and the inscription on his tomb, composed
by himself, is, “_Here lies one whose name was writ in water_.”

21. His greatest poem is +Hyperion+, written, in blank verse, on the
overthrow of the “early gods” of Greece. But he will most probably be
best remembered by his marvellous odes, such as the +Ode to a
Nightingale+, +Ode on a Grecian Urn+, +To Autumn+, and others. His style
is clear, sensuous, and beautiful; and he has added to our literature
lines that will always live. Such are the following:--

  “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

  “Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”

  “Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
  When a new planet swims into his ken.”

  “Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
  She stood in tears amid the alien corn.”

22. +Prose-Writers.+-- We have now to consider the greatest
prose-writers of the first half of the nineteenth century. First comes
+Walter Scott+, one of the greatest novelists that ever lived, and who
won the name of “The Wizard of the North” from the marvellous power he
possessed of enchaining the attention and fascinating the minds of his
readers. Two other great writers of prose were +Charles Lamb+ and
+Walter Savage Landor+, each in styles essentially different. +Jane
Austen+, a young English lady, has become a classic in prose, because
her work is true and perfect within its own sphere. +De Quincey+ is
perhaps the writer of the most ornate and elaborate English prose of
this period. +Thomas Carlyle+, a great Scotsman, with a style of
overwhelming power, but of occasional grotesqueness, like a great
prophet and teacher of the nation, compelled statesmen and
philanthropists to think, while he also gained for himself a high place
in the rank of historians. +Macaulay+, also of Scottish descent, was one
of the greatest essayists and ablest writers on history that Great
Britain has produced. A short survey of each of these great men may be
useful. Scott has been already treated of.

23. CHARLES LAMB (+1775-1834+), a perfect English essayist, was born in
the Inner Temple, in London, in the year 1775. His father was clerk to a
barrister of that Inn of Court. Charles was educated at Christ’s
Hospital, where his most famous schoolfellow was S. T. Coleridge.
Brought up in the very heart of London, he had always a strong feeling
for the greatness of the metropolis of the world. “I often shed tears,”
he said, “in the motley Strand, for fulness of joy at so much life.” He
was, indeed, a thorough Cockney and lover of London, as were also
Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, and Lamb’s friend Leigh Hunt. Entering the
India House as a clerk in the year 1792, he remained there thirty-three
years; and it was one of his odd sayings that, if any one wanted to see
his “works,” he would find them on the shelves of the India House. --He
is greatest as a writer of prose; and his prose is, in its way,
unequalled for sweetness, grace, humour, and quaint terms, among the
writings of this century. His best prose work is the +Essays of Elia+,
which show on every page the most whimsical and humorous subtleties,
a quick play of intellect, and a deep sympathy with the sorrows and the
joys of men. Very little verse came from his pen. “Charles Lamb’s
nosegay of verse,” says Professor Dowden, “may be held by the small hand
of a maiden, and there is not in it one flaunting flower.” Perhaps the
best of his poems are the short pieces entitled +Hester+ and +The Old
Familiar Faces+. --He retired from the India House, on a pension, in
1825, and died at Edmonton, near London, in 1834. His character was as
sweet and refined as his style; Wordsworth spoke of him as “Lamb the
frolic and the gentle;” and these and other fine qualities endeared him
to a large circle of friends.

24. WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (+1775-1864+), the greatest prose-writer in his
own style of the nineteenth century, was born at Ipsley Court, in
Warwickshire, on the 30th of January 1775-- the anniversary of the
execution of Charles I. He was educated at Rugby School and at Oxford;
but his fierce and insubordinate temper-- which remained with him, and
injured him all his life-- procured his expulsion from both of these
places. As heir to a large estate, he resolved to give himself up
entirely to literature; and he accordingly declined to adopt any
profession. Living an almost purely intellectual life, he wrote a great
deal of prose and some poetry; and his first volume of poems appeared
before the close of the eighteenth century. His life, which began in the
reign of George III., stretched through the reigns of George IV. and
William IV., into the twenty-seventh year of Queen Victoria; and, in the
course of this long life, he had manifold experiences, many loves and
hates, friendships and acquaintanceships, with persons of every sort and
rank. He joined the Spanish army to fight Napoleon, and presented the
Spanish Government with large sums of money. He spent about thirty years
of his life in Florence, where he wrote many of his works. He died at
Florence in the year 1864. His greatest prose work is the +Imaginary
Conversations+; his best poem is +Count Julian+; and the character of
Count Julian has been ranked by De Quincey with the Satan of Milton.
Some of his smaller poetic pieces are perfect; and there is one, +Rose
Aylmer+, written about a dear young friend, that Lamb was never tired of

  “Ah! what avails the sceptred race!
    Ah! what the form divine!
  What every virtue, every grace!
    Rose Aylmer, all were thine!

  “Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
    Shall weep, but never see!
  A night of memories and sighs
    I consecrate to thee.”

25. JANE AUSTEN (+1775-1817+), the most delicate and faithful painter of
English social life, was born at Steventon, in Hampshire, in 1775-- in
the same year as Landor and Lamb. She wrote a small number of novels,
most of which are almost perfect in their minute and true painting of
character. Sir Walter Scott, Macaulay, and other great writers, are
among her fervent admirers. Scott says of her writing: “The big bow-wow
strain I can do myself, like any now going; but the exquisite touch
which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting,
from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me.”
She works out her characters by making them reveal themselves in their
talk, and by an infinite series of minute touches. Her two best novels
are +Emma+ and +Pride and Prejudice+. The interest of them depends on
the truth of the painting; and many thoughtful persons read through the
whole of her novels every year.

26. THOMAS DE QUINCEY (+1785-1859+), one of our most brilliant
essayists, was born at Greenhays, Manchester, in the year 1785. He was
educated at the Manchester grammar-school and at Worcester College,
Oxford. While at Oxford he took little share in the regular studies of
his college, but read enormous numbers of Greek, Latin, and English
books, as his taste or whim suggested. He knew no one; he hardly knew
his own tutor. “For the first two years of my residence in Oxford,” he
says, “I compute that I did not utter one hundred words.” After leaving
Oxford, he lived for about twenty years in the Lake country; and there
he became acquainted with Wordsworth, Hartley Coleridge (the son of
S. T. Coleridge), and John Wilson (afterwards known as Professor Wilson,
and also as the “Christopher North” of ‘Blackwood’s Magazine’).
Suffering from repeated attacks of neuralgia, he gradually formed the
habit of taking laudanum; and by the time he had reached the age of
thirty, he drank about 8000 drops a-day. This unfortunate habit injured
his powers of work and weakened his will. In spite of it, however, he
wrote many hundreds of essays and articles in reviews and magazines. In
the latter part of his life, he lived either near or in Edinburgh, and
was always employed in dreaming (the opium increased his power both of
dreaming and of musing), or in studying or writing. He died in Edinburgh
in the year 1859. --Many of his essays were written under the signature
of “The English Opium-Eater.” Probably his best works are +The
Confessions of an Opium-Eater+ and +The Vision of Sudden Death+. The
chief characteristics of his style are majestic rhythm and elaborate
eloquence. Some of his sentences are almost as long and as sustained as
those of Jeremy Taylor; while, in many passages of reasoning that glows
and brightens with strong passion and emotion, he is not inferior to
Burke. He possessed an enormous vocabulary-- in wealth of words and
phrases he surpasses both Macaulay and Carlyle; and he makes a very
large-- perhaps even an excessive-- use of Latin words. He is also very
fond of using metaphors, personifications, and other figures of speech.
It may be said without exaggeration that, next to Carlyle’s, De
Quincey’s style is the most stimulating and inspiriting that a young
reader can find among modern writers.

27. THOMAS CARLYLE (+1795-1881+), a great thinker, essayist, and
historian, was born at Ecclefechan, in Dumfriesshire, in the year 1795.
He was educated at the burgh school of Annan, and afterwards at the
University of Edinburgh. Classics and the higher mathematics were his
favourite studies; and he was more especially fond of astronomy. He was
a teacher for some years after leaving the University. For a few years
after this he was engaged in minor literary work; and translating from
the German occupied a good deal of his time. In 1826 he married Jane
Welsh, a woman of abilities only inferior to his own. His first original
work was +Sartor Resartus+ (“The Tailor Repatched”), which appeared in
1834, and excited a great deal of attention-- a book which has proved to
many the electric spark which first woke into life their powers of
thought and reflection. From 1837 to 1840 he gave courses of lectures in
London; and these lectures were listened to by the best and most
thoughtful of the London people. The most striking series afterwards
appeared in the form of a book, under the title of +Heroes and
Hero-Worship+. Perhaps his most remarkable book-- a book that is unique
in all English literature-- is +The French Revolution+, which appeared
in 1837. In the year 1845, his +Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches+ were
published, and drew after them a large number of eager readers. In 1865
he completed the hardest piece of work he had ever undertaken, his
+History of Frederick II., commonly called the Great+. This work is so
highly regarded in Germany as a truthful and painstaking history that
officers in the Prussian army are obliged to study it, as containing the
best account of the great battles of the Continent, the fields on which
they were fought, and the strategy that went to win them. One of the
crowning external honours of Carlyle’s life was his appointment as Lord
Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1866; but at the very time that
he was delivering his famous and remarkable Installation Address, his
wife lay dying in London. This stroke brought terrible sorrow on the old
man; he never ceased to mourn for his loss, and to recall the virtues
and the beauties of character in his dead wife; “the light of his life,”
he said, “was quite gone out;” and he wrote very little after her death.
He himself died in London on the 5th of February 1881.

28. +Carlyle’s Style.+-- Carlyle was an author by profession, a teacher
of and prophet to his countrymen by his mission, and a student of
history by the deep interest he took in the life of man. He was always
more or less severe in his judgments-- he has been called “The Censor of
the Age,”-- because of the high ideal which he set up for his own
conduct and the conduct of others. --He shows in his historic writings a
splendour of imagery and a power of dramatic grouping second only to
Shakespeare’s. In command of words he is second to no modern English
writer. His style has been highly praised and also energetically blamed.
It is rugged, gnarled, disjointed, full of irregular force-- shot across
by sudden lurid lights of imagination-- full of the most striking and
indeed astonishing epithets, and inspired by a certain grim Titanic
force. His sentences are often clumsily built. He himself said of them:
“Perhaps not more than nine-tenths stand straight on their legs; the
remainder are in quite angular attitudes; a few even sprawl out
helplessly on all sides, quite broken-backed and dismembered.” There is
no modern writer who possesses so large a profusion of figurative
language. His works are also full of the pithiest and most memorable
sayings, such as the following:--

  “Genius is an immense capacity for taking pains.”

  “Do the duty which lies nearest thee! Thy second duty will already
  have become clearer.”

  “History is a mighty drama, enacted upon the theatre of time, with
  suns for lamps, and eternity for a background.”

  “All true work is sacred. In all true work, were it but true
  hand-labour, there is something of divineness. Labour, wide as the
  earth, has its summit in heaven.”

  “Remember now and always that Life is no idle dream, but a solemn
  reality based upon Eternity, and encompassed by Eternity. Find out
  your task: stand to it: the night cometh when no man can work.”

29. THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY (+1800-1859+), the most popular of modern
historians,-- an essayist, poet, statesman, and orator,-- was born at
Rothley Temple, in Leicestershire, in the year 1800. His father was one
of the greatest advocates for the abolition of slavery; and received,
after his death, the honour of a monument in Westminster Abbey. Young
Macaulay was educated privately, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge.
He studied classics with great diligence and success, but detested
mathematics-- a dislike the consequences of which he afterwards deeply
regretted. In 1824 he was elected Fellow of his college. His first
literary work was done for Knight’s ‘Quarterly Magazine’; but the
earliest piece of writing that brought him into notice was his famous
essay on +Milton+, written for the ‘Edinburgh Review’ in 1825. Several
years of his life were spent in India, as Member of the Supreme Council;
and, on his return, he entered Parliament, where he sat as M.P. for
Edinburgh. Several offices were filled by him, among others that of
Paymaster-General of the Forces, with a seat in the Cabinet of Lord John
Russell. In 1842 appeared his +Lays of Ancient Rome+, poems which have
found a very large number of readers. His greatest work is his +History
of England from the Accession of James II+. To enable himself to write
this history he read hundreds of books, Acts of Parliament, thousands of
pamphlets, tracts, broadsheets, ballads, and other flying fragments of
literature; and he never seems to have forgotten anything he ever read.
In. 1849 he was elected Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow; and in
1857 was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Macaulay of
Rothley-- the first literary man who was ever called to the House of
Lords. He died at Holly Lodge, Kensington, in the year 1859.

30. +Macaulay’s Style.+-- One of the most remarkable qualities in his
style is the copiousness of expression, and the remarkable power of
putting the same statement in a large number of different ways. This
enormous command of expression corresponded with the extraordinary power
of his memory. At the age of eight he could repeat the whole of Scott’s
poem of “Marmion.” He was fond, at this early age, of big words and
learned English; and once, when he was asked by a lady if his toothache
was better, he replied, “Madam, the agony is abated!” He knew the whole
of Homer and of Milton by heart; and it was said with perfect truth
that, if Milton’s poetical works could have been lost, Macaulay would
have restored every line with complete exactness. Sydney Smith said of
him: “There are no limits to his knowledge, on small subjects as on
great; he is like a book in breeches.” His style has been called
“abrupt, pointed, and oratorical.” He is fond of the arts of surprise--
of antithesis-- and of epigram. Sentences like these are of frequent

  “Cranmer could vindicate himself from the charge of being a heretic
  only by arguments which made him out to be a murderer.”

  “The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the
  bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

Besides these elements of epigram and antithesis, there is a vast wealth
of illustration, brought from the stores of a memory which never seemed
to forget anything. He studied every sentence with the greatest care and
minuteness, and would often rewrite paragraphs and even whole chapters,
until he was satisfied with the variety and clearness of the expression.
“He could not rest,” it was said, “until the punctuation was correct to
a comma; until every paragraph concluded with a telling sentence, and
every sentence flowed like clear running water.” But, above all things,
he strove to make his style perfectly lucid and immediately
intelligible. He is fond of countless details; but he so masters and
marshals these details that each only serves to throw more light upon
the main statement. His prose may be described as pictorial prose. The
character of his mind was, like Burke’s, combative and oratorical; and
he writes with the greatest vigour and animation when he is attacking a
policy or an opinion.



1. +Science.+-- The second half of the nineteenth century is
distinguished by the enormous advance made in science, and in the
application of science to the industries and occupations of the people.
Chemistry and electricity have more especially made enormous strides.
Within the last twenty years, chemistry has remade itself into a new
science; and electricity has taken a very large part of the labour of
mankind upon itself. It carries our messages round the world-- under the
deepest seas, over the highest mountains, to every continent, and to
every great city; it lights up our streets and public halls; it drives
our engines and propels our trains. But the powers of imagination, the
great literary powers of poetry, and of eloquent prose,-- especially in
the domain of fiction,-- have not decreased because science has grown.
They have rather shown stronger developments. We must, at the same time,
remember that a great deal of the literary work published by the writers
who lived, or are still living, in the latter half of this century, was
written in the former half. Thus, Longfellow was a man of forty-three,
and Tennyson was forty-one, in the year 1850; and both had by that time
done a great deal of their best work. The same is true of the
prose-writers, Thackeray, Dickens, and Ruskin.

2. +Poets and Prose-Writers.+-- The six greatest poets of the latter
half of this century are +Longfellow+, a distinguished American poet,
+Tennyson+, +Mrs Browning+, +Robert Browning+, +William Morris+, and
+Matthew Arnold+. Of these, Mrs Browning and Longfellow are dead--
Mrs Browning having died in 1861, and Longfellow in 1882. --The four
greatest writers of prose are +Thackeray+, +Dickens+, +George Eliot+,
and +Ruskin+. Of these, only Ruskin is alive.

3. HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (+1807-1882+), the most popular of
American poets, and as popular in Great Britain as he is in the United
States, was born at Portland, Maine, in the year 1807. He was educated
at Bowdoin College, and took his degree there in the year 1825. His
profession was to have been the law; but, from the first, the whole bent
of his talents and character was literary. At the extraordinary age of
eighteen the professorship of modern languages in his own college was
offered to him; it was eagerly accepted, and in order to qualify himself
for his duties, he spent the next four years in Germany, France, Spain,
and Italy. His first important prose work was +Outre-Mer+, or a
+Pilgrimage beyond the Sea+. In 1837 he was offered the Chair of Modern
Languages and Literature in Harvard University, and he again paid a
visit to Europe-- this time giving his thoughts and study chiefly to
Germany, Denmark, and Scandinavia. In 1839 he published the prose
romance called +Hyperion+. But it was not as a prose-writer that
Longfellow gained the secure place he has in the hearts of the
English-speaking peoples; it was as a poet. His first volume of poems
was called +Voices of the Night+, and appeared in 1841; Evangeline was
published in 1848; and +Hiawatha+, on which his poetical reputation is
perhaps most firmly based, in 1855. Many other volumes of poetry-- both
original and translations-- have also come from his pen; but these are
the best. The University of Oxford created him Doctor of Civil Law in
1869. He died at Harvard in the year 1882. A man of singularly mild and
gentle character, of sweet and charming manners, his own lines may be
applied to him with perfect appropriateness--

  “His gracious presence upon earth
  Was as a fire upon a hearth;
  As pleasant songs, at morning sung,
  The words that dropped from his sweet tongue
  Strengthened our hearts, or-- heard at night--
  Made all our slumbers soft and light.”

4. +Longfellow’s Style.+-- In one of his prose works, Longfellow himself
says, “In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme
excellence is simplicity.” This simplicity he steadily aimed at, and in
almost all his writings reached; and the result is the sweet lucidity
which is manifest in his best poems. His verse has been characterised as
“simple, musical, sincere, sympathetic, clear as crystal, and pure as
snow.” He has written in a great variety of measures-- in more, perhaps,
than have been employed by Tennyson himself. His “Evangeline” is written
in a kind of dactylic hexameter, which does not always scan, but which
is almost always musical and impressive--

  “Fair was she and young, when in hope began the long journey;
  Faded was she and old, when in disappointment it ended.”

The “Hiawatha,” again, is written in a trochaic measure-- each verse
containing four trochees--

  “‘Farewell!’ said he, ‘Minnehaha,
  Farewell, O my laughing water!
  All my heart is buried with you,
  All´ my | thou´ghts go | on´ward | wi´th you!’”

He is always careful and painstaking with his rhythm and with the
cadence of his verse. It may be said with truth that Longfellow has
taught more people to love poetry than any other English writer, however

5. ALFRED TENNYSON, a great English poet, who has written beautiful
poetry for more than fifty years, was born at Somersby, in Lincolnshire,
in the year 1809. He is the youngest of three brothers, all of whom are
poets. He was educated at Cambridge, and some of his poems have shown,
in a striking light, the forgotten beauty of the fens and flats of
Cambridge and Lincolnshire. In 1829 he obtained the Chancellor’s medal
for a poem on “Timbuctoo.” In 1830 he published his first volume, with
the title of +Poems chiefly Lyrical+-- a volume which contained, among
other beautiful verses, the “Recollections of the Arabian Nights” and
“The Dying Swan.” In 1833 he issued another volume, called simply
+Poems+; and this contained the exquisite poems entitled “The Miller’s
Daughter” and “The Lotos-Eaters.” +The Princess+, a poem as remarkable
for its striking thoughts as for its perfection of language, appeared in
1847. The +In Memoriam+, a long series of short poems in memory of his
dear friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, the son of Hallam the historian, was
published in the year 1850. When Wordsworth died in 1850, Tennyson was
appointed to the office of Poet-Laureate. This office, from the time
when Dryden was forced to resign it in 1689, to the time when Southey
accepted it in 1813, had always been held by third or fourth rate
writers; in the present day it is held by the man who has done the
largest amount of the best poetical work. +The Idylls of the King+
appeared in 1859. This series of poems-- perhaps his greatest-- contains
the stories of “Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.” Many other
volumes of poems have been given by him to the world. In his old age he
has taken to the writing of ballads and dramas. His ballad of +The
Revenge+ is one of the noblest and most vigorous poems that England has
ever seen. The dramas of +Harold+, +Queen Mary+, and +Becket+, are
perhaps his best; and the last was written when the poet had reached the
age of seventy-four. In the year 1882 he was created Baron Tennyson, and
called to the House of Peers.

6. +Tennyson’s Style.+-- Tennyson has been to the last two generations
of Englishmen the national teacher of poetry. He has tried many new
measures; he has ventured on many new rhythms; and he has succeeded in
them all. He is at home equally in the slowest, most tranquil, and most
meditative of rhythms, and in the rapidest and most impulsive. Let us
look at the following lines as an example of the first. The poem is
written on a woman who is dying of a lingering disease--

  “Fair is her cottage in its place,
    Where yon broad water sweetly slowly glides:
  It sees itself from thatch to base
    Dream in the sliding tides.

  “And fairer she: but, ah! how soon to die!
    Her quiet dream of life this hour may cease:
  Her peaceful being slowly passes by
    To some more perfect peace.”

The very next poem, “The Sailor Boy,” in the same volume, is-- though
written in exactly the same measure-- driven on with the most rapid
march and vigorous rhythm--

  “He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,
    Shot o’er the seething harbour-bar,
  And reached the ship and caught the rope
    And whistled to the morning-star.”

And this is a striking and prominent characteristic of all Tennyson’s
poetry. Everywhere the sound is made to be “an echo to the sense”; the
style is in perfect keeping with the matter. In the “Lotos-Eaters,” we
have the sense of complete indolence and deep repose in--

  “A land of streams! Some, like a downward smoke,
  Slow-dropping veils of thinnest lawn, did go.”

In the “Boädicea,” we have the rush and the shock of battle, the closing
of legions, the hurtle of arms and the clash of armed men--

  “Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of an enemy massacred,
  Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies.”

Many of Tennyson’s sweetest and most pathetic lines have gone right into
the heart of the nation, such as--

  “But oh for the touch of a vanished hand,
  And the sound of a voice that is still!”

All his language is highly polished, ornate, rich-- sometimes Spenserian
in luxuriant imagery and sweet music, sometimes even Homeric in
massiveness and severe simplicity. Thus, in the “Morte d’Arthur,” he
speaks of the knight walking to the lake as--

  “Clothed with his breath, and looking as he walked,
  Larger than human on the frozen hills.”

Many of his pithy lines have taken root in the memory of the English
people, such as these--

  “Tis better to have loved and lost,
  Than never to have loved at all.”

  “For words, like Nature, half reveal,
  And half conceal, the soul within.”

  “Kind hearts are more than coronets,
  And simple faith than Norman blood.”

poetess of this century, was born in London in the year 1809. She wrote
verses “at the age of eight-- and earlier,” she says; and her first
volume of poems was published when she was seventeen. When still a girl,
she broke a blood-vessel upon the lungs, was ordered to a warmer climate
than that of London; and her brother, whom she loved very dearly, took
her down to Torquay. There a terrible tragedy was enacted before her
eyes. One day the weather and the water looked very tempting; her
brother took a sailing-boat for a short cruise in Torbay; the boat went
down in front of the house, and in view of his sister; the body was
never recovered. This sad event completely destroyed her already weak
health; she returned to London, and spent several years in a darkened
room. Here she “read almost every book worth reading in almost every
language, and gave herself heart and soul to that poetry of which she
seemed born to be the priestess.” This way of life lasted for many
years: and, in the course of it, she published several volumes of noble
verse. In 1846 she married Robert Browning, also a great poet. In 1856
she brought out +Aurora Leigh+, her longest, and probably also her
greatest, poem. Mr Ruskin called it “the greatest poem which the century
has produced in any language;” but this is going too far. --Mrs Browning
will probably be longest remembered by her incomparable sonnets and by
her lyrics, which are full of pathos and passion. Perhaps her two finest
poems in this kind are the +Cry of the Children+ and +Cowper’s Grave+.
All her poems show an enormous power of eloquent, penetrating, and
picturesque language; and many of them are melodious with a rich and
wonderful music. She died in 1861.

  [Transcriber’s Note:
  The above paragraph is given as printed. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  was born Elizabeth Barrett Moulton, later Moulton-Barrett, in 1806.
  Her year of birth was universally given as 1809 until some time after
  Robert Browning’s death. Her brother’s fatal accident took place in

8. ROBERT BROWNING, the most daring and original poet of the century,
was born in Camberwell, a southern suburb of London, in the year 1812.
He was privately educated. In 1836 he published his first poem
+Paracelsus+, which many wondered at, but few read. It was the story of
a man who had lost his way in the mazes of thought about life,-- about
its why and wherefore,-- about this world and the next,-- about himself
and his relations to God and his fellow-men. Mr Browning has written
many plays, but they are more fit for reading in the study than for
acting on the stage. His greatest work is +The Ring and the Book+; and
it is most probably by this that his name will live in future ages. Of
his minor poems, the best known and most popular is +The Pied Piper of
Hamelin+-- a poem which is a great favourite with all young people, from
the picturesqueness and vigour of the verse. The most deeply pathetic of
his minor poems is +Evelyn Hope+:--

  “So, hush,-- I will give you this leaf to keep--
    See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand,
  There! that is our secret! go to sleep;
    You will wake, and remember, and understand.”

9. +Browning’s Style.+-- Browning’s language is almost always very hard
to understand; but the meaning, when we have got at it, is well worth
all the trouble that may have been taken to reach it. His poems are more
full of thought and more rich in experience than those of any other
English writer except Shakspeare. The thoughts and emotions which throng
his mind at the same moment so crowd upon and jostle each other, become
so inextricably intermingled, that it is very often extremely difficult
for us to make out any meaning at all. Then many of his thoughts are so
subtle and so profound that they cannot easily be drawn up from the
depths in which they lie. No man can write with greater directness,
greater lyric vigour, fire, and impulse, than Browning when he chooses--
write more clearly and forcibly about such subjects as love and war; but
it is very seldom that he does choose. The infinite complexity of human
life and its manifold experiences have seized and imprisoned his
imagination; and it is not often that he speaks in a clear, free voice.

10. MATTHEW ARNOLD, one of the finest poets and noblest stylists of the
age, was born at Laleham, near Staines, on the Thames, in the year 1822.
He is the eldest son of the great Dr Arnold, the famous Head-master of
Rugby. He was educated at Winchester and Rugby, from which latter school
he proceeded to Balliol College, Oxford. The Newdigate prize for English
verse was won by him in 1843-- the subject of his poem being +Cromwell+.
His first volume of poems was published in 1848. In the year 1851 he was
appointed one of H.M. Inspectors of Schools; and he held that office up
to the year 1885. In 1857 he was elected Professor of Poetry in the
University of Oxford. In 1868 appeared a new volume with the simple
title of +New Poems+; and, since then, he has produced a large number of
books, mostly in prose. He is no less famous as a critic than as a poet;
and his prose is singularly beautiful and musical.

11. +Arnold’s Style.+-- The chief qualities of his verse are clearness,
simplicity, strong directness, noble and musical rhythm, and a certain
intense calm. His lines on +Morality+ give a good idea of his style:--

  “We cannot kindle when we will
  The fire that in the heart resides:
  The spirit bloweth and is still
  In mystery our soul abides:
      But tasks in hours of insight willed
      Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.

  With aching hands and bleeding feet
  We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
  We bear the burden and the heat
  Of the long day, and wish ’twere done.
      Not till the hours of light return,
      All we have built do we discern.”

His finest poem in blank verse is his +Sohrab and Rustum+-- a tale of
the Tartar wastes. One of his noblest poems, called +Rugby Chapel+,
describes the strong and elevated character of his father, the
Head-master of Rugby. --His prose is remarkable for its lucidity, its
pleasant and almost conversational rhythm, and its perfection of

12. WILLIAM MORRIS, a great narrative poet, was born near London in the
year 1834. He was educated at Marlborough and at Exeter College, Oxford.
In 1858 appeared his first volume of poems. In 1863 he began a business
for the production of artistic wall-paper, stained glass, and furniture;
he has a shop for the sale of these works of art in Oxford Street,
London; and he devotes most of his time to drawing and designing for
artistic manufacturers. His first poem, +The Life and Death of Jason+,
appeared in 1867; and his magnificent series of narrative poems-- +The
Earthly Paradise+-- was published in the years from 1868 and 1870. ‘The
Earthly Paradise’ consists of twenty-four tales in verse, set in a
framework much like that of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales.’ The poetic
power in these tales is second only to that of Chaucer; and Morris has
always acknowledged himself to be a pupil of Chaucer’s--

              “Thou, my Master still,
  Whatever feet have climbed Parnassus’ hill.”

Mr Morris has also translated the Æneid of Virgil, and several works
from the Icelandic.

13. +Morris’s Style.+-- Clearness, strength, music, picturesqueness, and
easy flow, are the chief characteristics of Morris’s style. Of the month
of April he says:--

  “O fair midspring, besung so oft and oft,
  How can I praise thy loveliness enow?
  Thy sun that burns not, and thy breezes soft
  That o’er the blossoms of the orchard blow,
  The thousand things that ’neath the young leaves grow
  The hopes and chances of the growing year,
  Winter forgotten long, and summer near.”

His pictorial power-- the power of bringing a person or a scene fully
and adequately before one’s eyes by the aid of words alone-- is as great
as that of Chaucer. The following is his picture of Edward III. in
middle age:--

  “Broad-browed he was, hook-nosed, with wide grey eyes
  No longer eager for the coming prize,
  But keen and steadfast: many an ageing line,
  Half-hidden by his sweeping beard and fine,
  Ploughed his thin cheeks; his hair was more than grey,
  And like to one he seemed whose better day
  Is over to himself, though foolish fame
  Shouts louder year by year his empty name.
  Unarmed he was, nor clad upon that morn
  Much like a king: an ivory hunting-horn
  Was slung about him, rich with gems and gold,
  And a great white ger-falcon did he hold
  Upon his fist; before his feet there sat
  A scrivener making notes of this and that
  As the King bade him, and behind his chair
  His captains stood in armour rich and fair.”

Morris’s stores of language are as rich as Spenser’s; and he has much
the same copious and musical flow of poetic words and phrases.

14. WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (+1811-1863+), one of the most original
of English novelists, was born at Calcutta in the year 1811. The son of
a gentleman high in the civil service of the East India Company, he was
sent to England to be educated, and was some years at Charterhouse
School, where one of his schoolfellows was Alfred Tennyson. He then went
on to the University of Cambridge, which he left without taking a
degree. Painting was the profession that he at first chose; and he
studied art both in France and Germany. At the age of twenty-nine,
however, he discovered that he was on a false tack, gave up painting,
and took to literary work as his true field. He contributed many
pleasant articles to ‘Fraser’s Magazine,’ under the name of +Michael
Angelo Titmarsh+; and one of his most beautiful and most pathetic
stories, +The Great Hoggarty Diamond+, was also written under this name.
He did not, however, take his true place as an English novelist of the
first rank until the year 1847, when he published his first serial
novel, +Vanity Fair+. Readers now began everywhere to class him with
Charles Dickens, and even above him. His most beautiful work is perhaps
+The Newcomes+; but the work which exhibits most fully the wonderful
power of his art and his intimate knowledge of the spirit and the
details of our older English life is +The History of Henry Esmond+--
a work written in the style and language of the days of Queen Anne, and
as beautiful as anything ever done by Addison himself. He died in the
year 1863.

15. CHARLES DICKENS (+1812-1870+), the most popular writer of this
century, was born at Landport, Portsmouth, in the year 1812. His
delicate constitution debarred him from mixing in boyish sports, and
very early made him a great reader. There was a little garret in his
father’s house where a small collection of books was kept; and, hidden
away in this room, young Charles devoured such books as the ‘Vicar of
Wakefield,’ ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ and many other famous English books. This
was in Chatham. The family next removed to London, where the father was
thrown into prison for debt. The little boy, weakly and sensitive, was
now sent to work in a blacking manufactory at six shillings a-week, his
duty being to cover the blacking-pots with paper. “No words can
express,” he says, “the secret agony of my soul, as I compared these my
everyday associates with those of my happier childhood, and felt my
early hopes of growing up to be a learned and distinguished man crushed
in my breast.... The misery it was to my young heart to believe that,
day by day, what I had learned, and thought, and delighted in, and
raised my fancy and my emulation up by, was passing away from me, never
to be brought back any more, cannot be written.” When his father’s
affairs took a turn for the better, he was sent to school; but it was to
a school where “the boys trained white mice much better than the master
trained the boys.” In fact, his true education consisted in his eager
perusal of a large number of miscellaneous books. When he came to think
of what he should do in the world, the profession of reporter took his
fancy; and, by the time he was nineteen, he had made himself the
quickest and most accurate-- that is, the best reporter in the Gallery
of the House of Commons. His first work, +Sketches by Boz+, was
published in 1836. In 1837 appeared the +Pickwick Papers+; and this work
at once lifted Dickens into the foremost rank as a popular writer of
fiction. From this time he was almost constantly engaged in writing
novels. His +Oliver Twist+ and +David Copperfield+ contain reminiscences
of his own life; and perhaps the latter is his most powerful work. “Like
many fond parents,” he wrote, “I have in my heart of hearts a favourite
child; and his name is _David Copperfield_.” He lived with all the
strength of his heart and soul in the creations of his imagination and
fancy while he was writing about them; he says himself, “No one can ever
believe this narrative, in the reading, more than I believed it in the
writing;” and each novel, as he wrote it, made him older and leaner.
Great knowledge of the lives of the poor, and great sympathy with them,
were among his most striking gifts; and Sir Arthur Helps goes so far as
to say, “I doubt much whether there has ever been a writer of fiction
who took such a real and living interest in the world about him.” He
died in the year 1870, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

16. +Dickens’s Style.+-- His style is easy, flowing, vigorous,
picturesque, and humorous; his power of language is very great; and,
when he is writing under the influence of strong passion, it rises into
a pure and noble eloquence. The scenery-- the external circumstances of
his characters, are steeped in the same colours as the characters
themselves; everything he touches seems to be filled with life and to
speak-- to look happy or sorrowful,-- to reflect the feelings of the
persons. His comic and humorous powers are very great; but his tragic
power is also enormous-- his power of depicting the fiercest passions
that tear the human breast,-- avarice, hate, fear, revenge, remorse. The
great American statesman, Daniel Webster, said that Dickens had done
more to better the condition of the English poor than all the statesmen
Great Britain had ever sent into the English Parliament.

17. JOHN RUSKIN, the greatest living master of English prose, an
art-critic and thinker, was born in London in the year 1819. In his
father’s house he was accustomed “to no other prospect than that of the
brick walls over the way; he had no brothers, nor sisters, nor
companions.” To his London birth he ascribes the great charm that the
beauties of nature had for him from his boyhood: he felt the contrast
between town and country, and saw what no country-bred child could have
seen in sights that were usual to him from his infancy. He was educated
at Christ Church, Oxford, and gained the Newdigate prize for poetry in
1839. He at first devoted himself to painting; but his true and
strongest genius lay in the direction of literature. In 1843 appeared
the first volume of his +Modern Painters+, which is perhaps his greatest
work; and the four other volumes were published between that date and
the year 1860. In this work he discusses the qualities and the merits of
the greatest painters of the English, the Italian, and other schools. In
1851 he produced a charming fairy tale, ‘The King of the Golden River,
or the Black Brothers.’ He has written on architecture also, on
political economy, and on many other social subjects. He is the founder
of a society called “The St George’s Guild,” the purpose of which is to
spread abroad sound notions of what true life and true art are, and
especially to make the life of the poor more endurable and better worth

18. +Ruskin’s Style.+-- A glowing eloquence, a splendid and full-flowing
music, wealth of phrase, aptness of epithet, opulence of ideas-- all
these qualities characterise the prose style of Mr Ruskin. His similes
are daring, but always true. Speaking of the countless statues that fill
the innumerable niches of the cathedral of Milan, he says that “it is as
though a flight of angels had alighted there and been struck to marble.”
His writings are full of the wisest sayings put into the most musical
and beautiful language. Here are a few:--

  “Every act, every impulse, of virtue and vice, affects in any
  creature, face, voice, nervous power, and vigour and harmony of
  invention, at once. Perseverance in rightness of human conduct
  renders, after a certain number of generations, human art possible;
  every sin clouds it, be it ever so little a one; and persistent
  vicious living and following of pleasure render, after a certain
  number of generations, all art impossible.”

  “In mortals, there is a care for trifles, which proceeds from love
  and conscience, and is most holy; and a care for trifles, which
  comes of idleness and frivolity, and is most base. And so, also,
  there is a gravity proceeding from dulness and mere incapability of
  enjoyment, which is most base.”

His power of painting in words is incomparably greater than that of any
other English author: he almost infuses colour into his words and
phrases, so full are they of pictorial power. It would be impossible to
give any adequate idea of this power here; but a few lines may suffice
for the present:--

  “The noonday sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La Riccia,
  and its masses of enlarged and tall foliage, whose autumnal tints
  were mixed with the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were
  penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call it colour; it was
  conflagration. Purple, and crimson, and scarlet, like the curtains
  of God’s tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in
  showers of light, every separate leaf quivered with buoyant and
  burning life; each, as it turned to reflect or to transmit the
  sunbeam, first a torch and then an emerald.”

19. GEORGE ELIOT (the literary name for +Marian Evans, 1819-1880+), one
of our greatest writers, was born in Warwickshire in the year 1819. She
was well and carefully educated; and her own serious and studious
character made her a careful thinker and a most diligent reader. For
some time the famous Herbert Spencer was her tutor; and under his care
her mind developed with surprising rapidity. She taught herself German,
French, Italian-- studied the best works in the literature of these
languages; and she was also fairly mistress of Greek and Latin. Besides
all these, she was an accomplished musician. --She was for some time
assistant-editor of the ‘Westminster Review.’ The first of her works
which called the attention of the public to her astonishing skill and
power as a novelist was her +Scenes of Clerical Life+. Her most popular
novel, +Adam Bede+, appeared in 1859; +Romola+ in 1863; and
+Middlemarch+ in 1872. She has also written a good deal of poetry, among
other volumes that entitled +The Legend of Jubal, and other Poems+. One
of her best poems is +The Spanish Gypsy+. She died in the year 1880.

20. +George Eliot’s Style.+-- Her style is everywhere pure and strong,
of the best and most vigorous English, not only broad in its power, but
often intense in its description of character and situation, and always
singularly adequate to the thought. Probably no novelist knew the
English character-- especially in the Midlands-- so well as she, or
could analyse it with so much subtlety and truth. She is entirely
mistress of the country dialects. In humour, pathos, knowledge of
character, power of putting a portrait firmly upon the canvas, no writer
surpasses her, and few come near her. Her power is sometimes almost
Shakespearian. Like Shakespeare, she gives us a large number of wise
sayings, expressed in the pithiest language. The following are a few:--

  “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

  “It is easy finding reasons why other people should be patient.”

  “Genius, at first, is little more than a great capacity for
  receiving discipline.”

  “Things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, half
  owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in
  unvisited tombs.”

  “Nature never makes men who are at once energetically sympathetic
  and minutely calculating.”

  “To the far woods he wandered, listening,
  And heard the birds their little stories sing
  In notes whose rise and fall seem melted speech--
  Melted with tears, smiles, glances-- that can reach
  More quickly through our frame’s deep-winding night,
  And without thought raise thought’s best fruit, delight.”


[Transcriber’s Note:

In the original book, the following table-- spanning 14 pages-- was
laid out in four columns: Writers; Works; Contemporary Events; Centuries
(through 1500) or Decades (beginning 1550).

Missing punctuation has been silently supplied.]

      Contemporary Events


  (_Author unknown._)
    +Beowulf+ (brought over by Saxons and Angles from the Continent).


  CAEDMON. A secular monk of Whitby. Died about +680+.
    +Poems+ on the Creation and other subjects taken from the Old and
    the New Testament.

      Edwin (of Deira), King of the Angles, baptised 627.


  BAEDA. +672-735+. “The Venerable Bede,” a monk of Jarrow-on-Tyne.
    An +Ecclesiastical History+ in Latin. A translation of +St John’s
    Gospel+ into English (lost).

      First landing of the Danes, 787.


  ALFRED THE GREAT. +849-901+. King; translator; prose-writer.
    Translated into the English of Wessex, Bede’s Ecclesiastical History
    and other Latin works. Is said to have begun the +Anglo-Saxon

      The University of Oxford is said to have been founded in this

  Compiled by monks in various monasteries.
    +Anglo-Saxon Chronicle+, 875-1154.


  ASSER. Bishop of Sherborne. Died +910+.
    +Life of King Alfred+.


  (_Author unknown._)
    A poem entitled +The Grave+.


  LAYAMON. +1150-1210+. A priest of Ernley-on-Severn.
    +The Brut+ (1205), a poem on Brutus, the supposed first settler in

      John ascended the throne in 1199.

  ORM or ORMIN. +1187-1237+. A canon of the Order of St Augustine.
    +The Ormulum+ (1215), a set of religious services in metre.


  ROBERT OF GLOUCESTER. +1255-1307+.
    +Chronicle of England+ in rhyme (1297).

      Magna Charta, 1215.
      Henry III. ascends the throne, 1216.

  ROBERT OF BRUNNE. (Robert Manning of Brun.) +1272-1340+.
    +Chronicle of England+ in rhyme; _Handlyng Sinne_ (1303).

      University of Cambridge founded, 1231.
      Edward I. ascends the throne, 1272.
      Conquest of Wales, 1284.


  SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE. +1300-1372+. Physician; traveller; prose-writer.
    +The Voyaige and Travaile+. Travels to Jerusalem, India, and other
    countries, written in Latin French and English (1356). The first
    writer “in formed English.”

      Edward II ascends the throne, 1307.
      Battle of Bannockburn, 1314.

  JOHN BARBOUR. Archdeacon of Aberdeen. +1316-1396+.
    +The Bruce+ (1377), a poem written in the Northern English or
    “Scottish” dialect.

      Edward III. ascends the throne, 1327.


  JOHN WYCLIF. +1324-1384+. Vicar of Lutterworth, in Leicestershire.
    Translation of the +Bible+ from the Latin version; and many tracts
    and pamphlets on Church reform.

      Hundred Years’ War begins, 1338.
      Battle of Crecy, 1346.

  JOHN GOWER. +1325-1408+. A country gentleman of Kent; probably also a
    +Vox Clamantis+, +Confessio Amantis+, +Speculum Meditantis+ (1393);
    and poems in French and Latin.

      The Black Death, 1349, 1361, 1369.

  WILLIAM LANGLANDE. +1332-1400+. Born in Shropshire.
    +Vision concerning Piers the Plowman+-- three editions (1362-78).

      Battle of Poitiers, 1356.
      First law-pleadings in English, 1362.

  GEOFFREY CHAUCER +1340-1400+. Poet; courtier; soldier; diplomatist;
  Comptroller of the Customs: Clerk of the King’s Works; M.P.
    +The Canterbury Tales+ (1384-98), of which the best is the +Knightes
    Tale+. Dryden called him “a perpetual fountain of good sense.”

      Richard II. ascends the throne, 1377.
      Wat Tyler’s insurrection, 1381.

  JAMES I. OF SCOTLAND. +1394-1437+. Prisoner in England, and educated
  there, in 1405.
    +The King’s Quair+ (= _Book_), a poem in the style of Chaucer.

      Henry IV. ascends the throne, 1399.


  WILLIAM CAXTON. +1422-1492+. Mercer; printer; translator;
    +The Game and Playe of the Chesse+ (1474)-- the first book printed
    in England; +Lives of the Fathers+, “finished on the last day of his
    life;” and many other works.

      Henry V. ascends the throne, 1415.
      Battle of Agincourt, 1415.
      Henry VI. ascends the throne, 1422.
      Invention of Printing, 1438-45.


  WILLIAM DUNBAR. +1450-1530+. Franciscan or Grey Friar; Secretary to a
  Scotch embassy to France.
    +The Golden Terge+ (1501); the +Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins+
    (1507); and other poems. He has been called “the Chaucer of

      Jack Cade’s insurrection, 1450.
      End of the Hundred Years’ War, 1453.

  GAWAIN DOUGLAS. +1474-1522+. Bishop of Dunkeld, in Perthshire.
    +Palace of Honour+ (1501); translation of +Virgil’s Æneid+ (1513)--
    the first translation of any Latin author into verse. Douglas wrote
    in Northern English.

      Wars of the Roses, 1455-86.
      Edward IV. ascends the throne, 1461.

  WILLIAM TYNDALE. +1477-1536+. Student of theology; translator. Burnt
  at Antwerp for heresy.
    +New Testament+ translated (1525-34); the +Five Books of Moses+
    translated (1530). This translation is the basis of the Authorised

      Edward V. king, 1483.

  SIR THOMAS MORE. +1480-1535+. Lord High Chancellor; writer on social
  topics; historian.
    +History of King Edward V., and of his brother, and of Richard
    III+. (1513); +Utopia+ (= “The Land of Nowhere”), written in Latin;
    and other prose works.

      Richard III. ascends the throne, 1483.
      Battle of Bosworth, 1485.

  SIR DAVID LYNDESAY. +1490-1556+. Tutor of Prince James of Scotland
  (James V.); “Lord Lyon King-at-Arms;” poet.
    +Lyndesay’s Dream+ (1528); +The Complaint+ (1529); +A Satire of the
    Three Estates+ (1535)-- a “morality-play.”

      Henry VII. ascends the throne, 1485.
      Greek began to be taught in England about 1497.


  ROGER ASCHAM. +1515-1568+. Lecturer on Greek at Cambridge; tutor to
  Edward VI., Queen Elizabeth, and Lady Jane Grey.
    +Toxophilus+ (1544), a treatise on shooting with the bow; +The
    Scholemastre+ (1570). “Ascham is plain and strong in his style, but
    without grace or warmth.”

      Henry VIII. ascends the throne, 1509.
      Battle of Flodden, 1513.
      Wolsey Cardinal and Lord High Chancellor, 1515.

  JOHN FOXE. +1517-1587+. An English clergyman. Corrector for the press
  at Basle; Prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral; prose-writer.
    +The Book of Martyrs+ (1563), an account of the chief Protestant

      Sir Thomas More first layman who was Lord High Chancellor, 1529.
      Reformation in England begins about 1534.

  EDMUND SPENSER. +1552-1599+. Secretary to Viceroy of Ireland;
  political writer; poet.
    +Shepheard’s Calendar+ (1579): +Faerie Queene+, in six books

      Edward VI. ascends the throne, 1547.
      Mary Tudor ascends the throne, 1553.


  SIR WALTER RALEIGH. +1552-1618+. Courtier; statesman; sailor;
  coloniser; historian.
    +History of the World+ (1614), written during the author’s
    imprisonment in the Tower of London.

      Cranmer burnt 1556.

  RICHARD HOOKER. +1553-1600+. English clergyman; Master of the Temple;
  Rector of Boscombe, in the diocese of Salisbury.
    +Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity+ (1594). This book is an eloquent
    defence of the Church of England. The writer, from his excellent
    judgment, is generally called “the judicious Hooker.”

      Elizabeth ascends the throne, 1558.

  SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. +1554-1586+. Courtier; general; romance-writer.
    +Arcadia+, a romance (1580). +Defence of Poesie+, published after
    his death (in 1595). +Sonnets+.


  FRANCIS BACON. +1561-1626+. Viscount St Albans; Lord High Chancellor
  of England; lawyer; philosopher; essayist.
    +Essays+ (1597); +Advancement of Learning+ (1605); +Novum Organum+
    (1620); and other works on methods of inquiry into nature.

      Hawkins begins slave trade in 1562.
      Rizzio murdered, 1566.

  WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. +1564-1616+. Actor; owner of theatre;
  play-writer; poet. Born and died at Stratford-on-Avon.
    Thirty-seven plays. His greatest +tragedies+ are _Hamlet_, _Lear_,
    and _Othello_. His best +comedies+ are _Midsummer Night’s Dream_,
    _The Merchant of Venice_, and _As You Like It_. His best +historical
    plays+ are _Julius Cæsar_ and _Richard III_. Many _minor poems_--
    chiefly +sonnets+. He wrote no prose.

      Marlowe, Dekker, Chapman, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Webster,
      Ben Johnson, and other dramatists, were contemporaries of


  BEN JONSON. +1574-1637+. Dramatist; poet; prose-writer.
    +Tragedies+ and +comedies+. Best plays: _Volpone or the Fox_; _Every
    Man in his Humour_.

      Drake sails round the world, 1577.
      Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, 1578.


  WILLIAM DRUMMOND (“of Hawthornden”). +1585-1649+. Scottish poet;
  friend of Ben Jonson.
    +Sonnets+ and +poems+.

      Raleigh in Virginia, 1584.
      Babington’s Plot, 1586.
      Spanish Armada, 1588.


  THOMAS HOBBES. +1588-1679+. Philosopher; prose-writer; translator of
    +The Leviathan+ (1651), a work on politics and moral philosophy.

      Battle of Ivry, 1590.


  SIR THOMAS BROWNE. +1605-1682+. Physician at Norwich.
    +Religio Medici+ (= “The Religion of a Physician”); +Urn-Burial+;
    and other prose works.

      Australia discovered, 1601.
      James I. ascends the throne in 1603.

  JOHN MILTON. +1608-1674+. Student; political writer; poet; Foreign (or
  “Latin”) Secretary to Cromwell. Became blind from over-work in +1654+.
    _Minor Poems_; +Paradise Lost+; +Paradise Regained+; +Samson
    Agonistes+. Many prose works, the best being +Areopagitica+, a
    speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing.

      Hampton Court Conference for translation of Bible, 1604-11.
      Gunpowder Plot, 1605.


  SAMUEL BUTLER. +1612-1680+. Literary man; secretary to the Earl of
    +Hudibras+, a mock-heroic poem, written to ridicule the Puritan and
    Parliamentarian party.

      Execution of Raleigh, 1618.

  JEREMY TAYLOR. +1613-1667+. English clergyman; Bishop of Down and
  Connor in Ireland.
    +Holy Living+ and +Holy Dying+ (1649); and a number of other
    religious books.


  JOHN BUNYAN. +1628-1688+. Tinker and traveling preacher.
    +The Pilgrim’s Progress+ (1678); the +Holy War+; and other religious

      Charles I. ascends the throne in 1625.
      Petition of Right, 1628.


  JOHN DRYDEN. +1631-1700+. Poet-Laureate and Historiographer-Royal;
  playwright; poet; prose-writer.
    +Annus Mirabilis+ (= “The Wonderful Year,” 1665-66, on the Plague
    and the Fire of London); +Absalom and Achitophel+ (1681), a poem on
    political parties; +Hind and Panther+ (1687), a religious poem. He
    also wrote many plays, some odes and a translation of Virgil’s
    +Æneid+. His prose consists chiefly of prefaces and introductions
    to his poems.

      No Parliament from 1629-40.
      Scottish National Covenant, 1638.


      Long Parliament, 1640-53.
      Marston Moor, 1644.
      Execution of Charles I., 1649.


  JOHN LOCKE. +1632-1704+. Diplomatist; Secretary to the Board of Trade;
  philosopher; prose-writer.
    +Essay concerning the Human Understanding+ (1690); +Thoughts on
    Education+; and other prose works.

      The Commonwealth, 1649-60.
      Cromwell Lord Protector, 1653-58.


  DANIEL DEFOE. +1661-1731+. Literary man; pamphleteer; journalist;
  member of Commission on Union with Scotland.
    +The True-born Englishman+ (1701); +Robinson Crusoe+ (1719);
    +Journal of the Plague+ (1722); and more than a hundred books in

      Restoration, 1660.
      First standing army, 1661.
      First newspaper in England, 1663.

  JONATHAN SWIFT. +1667-1745+. English clergyman; literary man;
  satirist; prose-writer; poet; Dean of St Patrick’s, in Dublin.
    +Battle of the Books+; +Tale of a Tub+ (1704), an allegory on the
    Churches of Rome, England, and Scotland; +Gulliver’s Travels+
    (1726); a few poems; and a number of very vigorous political

      Plague of London, 1665.
      Fire of London, 1666.


  SIR RICHARD STEELE. +1671-1729+. Soldier; literary man; courtier;
  journalist; M.P.
    Steele founded the ‘Tatler,’ ‘Spectator,’ ‘Guardian,’ and other
    small journals. He also wrote some plays.

      Charles II. pensioned by Louis XIV. of France, 1674.

  JOSEPH ADDISON. +1672-1719+. Essayist; poet; Secretary of State for
  the Home Department.
    +Essays+ in the ‘Tatler,’ ‘Spectator,’ and ‘Guardian.’ Cato, a
    Tragedy (1713). Several _Poems_ and _Hymns_.

      The Habeas Corpus Act, 1679.


  ALEXANDER POPE. +1688-1744+. Poet.
    +Essay on Criticism+ (1711); +Rape of the Lock+ (1714); Translation
    of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, finished in 1726; +Dunciad+ (1729);
    +Essay on Man+ (1739). A few prose _Essays_, and a volume of

      James II. ascends the throne in 1685.
      Revolution of 1688.
      William III. and Mary II. ascend the throne, 1689.


      Battle of the Boyne, 1690.

  JAMES THOMSON. +1700-1748+. Poet.
    +The Seasons+; a poem in blank verse (1730); +The Castle of
    Indolence+; a mock-heroic poem in the Spenserian stanza (1748).

      Censorship of the Press abolished, 1695.
      Queen Anne ascends the throne in 1702.


  HENRY FIELDING. +1707-1754+. Police-magistrate, journalist; novelist.
    +Joseph Andrews+ (1742); +Amelia+ (1751). He was “the first great
    English novelist.”

      Battle of Blenheim, 1704.
      Gibraltar taken, 1704.

  DR SAMUEL JOHNSON. +1709-1784+. Schoolmaster; literary man; essayist;
  poet; dictionary-maker.
    +London+ (1738); +The Vanity of Human Wishes+ (1749); +Dictionary
    of the English Language+ (1755); +Rasselas+ (1759); +Lives of the
    Poets+ (1781). He also wrote +The Idler+, +The Rambler+, and a play
    called +Irene+.

      Union of England and Scotland, 1707.


  DAVID HUME. +1711-1776+. Librarian; Secretary to the French Embassy;
  philosopher; literary man.
    +History of England+ (1754-1762); and a number of philosophical
    _Essays_. His prose is singularly clear, easy, and pleasant.

      George I. ascends the throne in 1714.

  THOMAS GRAY. +1716-1771+. Student; poet; letter-writer; Professor of
  Modern History in the University of Cambridge.
    +Odes+; +Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard+ (1750)-- one of the
    most perfect poems in our language. He was a great stylist, and an
    extremely careful workman.

      Rebellion in Scotland in 1715.


  TOBIAS GEORGE SMOLLETT. +1721-1771+. Doctor; pamphleteer; literary
  hack; novelist.
    +Roderick Random+ (1748); +Humphrey Clinker+ (1771). He also
    continued +Hume’s History of England+. He published also some
    _Plays_ and _Poems_.

      South-Sea Bubble bursts, 1720.

  OLIVER GOLDSMITH. +1728-1774+. Literary man; play-writer; poet.
    +The Traveller+ (1764); +The Vicar of Wakefield+ (1766); +The
    Deserted Village+ (1770); +She Stoops to Conquer+--a Play (1773);
    and a large number of books, pamphlets, and compilations.

      George II. ascends the throne, 1727.

  ADAM SMITH. +1723-1790+. Professor in the University of Glasgow.
    +Theory of Moral Sentiments+ (1759); +Inquiry into the Nature and
    Causes of the Wealth of Nations+ (1776). He was the founder of the
    science of political economy.


  EDMUND BURKE. +1730-1797+. M.P.; statesman; “the first man in the
  House of Commons;” orator; writer on political philosophy.
    +Essay on the Sublime and Beautiful+ (1757); +Reflections on the
    Revolution of France+ (1790); +Letters on a Regicide Peace+ (1797);
    and many other works. “The greatest philosopher in practice the
    world ever saw.”

  WILLIAM COWPER. +1731-1800+. Commissioner in Bankruptcy; Clerk of the
  Journals of the House of Lords; poet.
    +Table Talk+ (1782); +John Gilpin+ (1785); +A Translation of Homer+
    (1791); and many other _Poems_. His Letters, like Gray’s, are among
    the best in the language.


  EDWARD GIBBON. +1737-1794+. Historian; M.P.
    +Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire+ (1776-87). “Heavily laden
    style and monotonous balance of every sentence.”

      Rebellion in Scotland, 1745, commonly called “The ’Forty-five.”


  ROBERT BURNS. +1759-1796+. Farm-labourer; ploughman; farmer;
  excise-officer; lyrical poet.
    _Poems and Songs_ (1786-96). His prose consists chiefly of Letters.
    “His pictures of social life, of quaint humour, come up to nature;
    and they cannot go beyond it.”

      Clive in India, 1750-60.
      Earthquake at Lisbon, 1755.
      Black Hole of Calcutta, 1756.


  WILLIAM WORDSWORTH. +1770-1850+. Distributor of Stamps for the county
  of Westmoreland; poet; poet-laureate.
    +Lyrical Ballads+ (with Coleridge, 1798); +The Excursion+ (1814);
    +Yarrow Revisited+ (1835), and many poems. +The Prelude+ was
    published after his death. His prose, which is very good, consists
    chiefly of Prefaces and Introductions.

      George III. ascends the throne in 1760.
      Napoleon and Wellington born, 1769.


  SIR WALTER SCOTT. +1771-1832+. Clerk to the Court of Session in
  Edinburgh; Scottish barrister; poet; novelist.
    +Lay of the Last Minstrel+ (1805); +Marmion+ (1808); +Lady of the
    Lake+ (1810); +Waverley+-- the first of the “Waverley Novels”-- was
    published in 1814. The “Homer of Scotland.” His prose is bright and
    fluent, but very inaccurate.

      Warren Hastings in India, 1772-85.

  SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE. +1772-1834+. Private soldier; journalist;
  literary man; philosopher; poet.
    +The Ancient Mariner+ (1798); +Christabel+ (1816); +The Friend+--
    a Collection of Essays (1812); +Aids to Reflection+ (1825). His
    prose is very full both of thought and emotion.

  ROBERT SOUTHEY. +1774-1843+. Literary man; Quarterly Reviewer;
  historian; poet-laureate.
    +Joan of Arc+ (1796); +Thalaba the Destroyer+ (1801); +The Curse of
    Kehama+ (1810); +A History of Brazil+; +The Doctor+-- a Collection
    of Essays; +Life of Nelson+. He wrote more than a hundred volumes.
    He was “the most ambitious and and most voluminous author of his

      American Declaration of Independence, 1776.

  CHARLES LAMB. +1775-1834+. Clerk in the East India House; poet;
    _Poems_ (1797); +Tales from Shakespeare+ (1806); +The Essays of
    Elia+ (1823-1833). One of the finest writers of writers of prose in
    the English language.

  WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR. +1775-1864+. Poet; prose-writer.
    +Gebir+ (1798); +Count Julian+ (1812); +Imaginary Conversations+
    (1824-1846); +Dry Sticks Faggoted+ (1858). He wrote books for more
    than sixty years. His style is full of vigour and sustained

      Alliance of France and America, 1778.

  THOMAS CAMPBELL. +1777-1844+. Poet; literary man; editor.
    +The Pleasures of Hope+ (1799); +Poems+ (1803); +Gertrude of
    Wyoming+, +Battle of the Baltic+, +Hohenlinden+, etc. (1809). He
    also wrote some _Historical Works_.

      Encyclopædia Britannica founded in 1778.

  HENRY HALLAM. +1778-1859+. Historian.
    +View of Europe during the Middle Ages+ (1818); +Constitutional
    History of England+ (1827); +Introduction to the Literature of
    Europe+ (1839).

  THOMAS MOORE. +1779-1852+. Poet; prose-writer.
    +Odes and Epistles+ (1806); +Lalla Rookh+ (1817); +History of
    Ireland+ (1827); +Life of Byron+ (1830); +Irish Melodies+ (1834);
    and many prose works.


  THOMAS DE QUINCEY. +1785-1859+. Essayist.
    +Confessions of an English Opium-Eater+ (1821). He wrote also on
    many subjects-- philosophy, poetry, classics, history, politics. His
    writings fill twenty volumes. He was one of the finest prose-writers
    of this century.

      French Revolution begun in 1789.

  LORD BYRON (George Gordon). +1788-1824+. Peer; poet; volunteer to
    +Hours of Idleness+ (1807); +English Bards and Scotch Reviewers+
    (1809); +Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage+ (1812-1818); +Hebrew Melodies+
    (1815); and many _Plays_. His prose, which is full of vigour and
    animal spirits, is to be found chiefly in his Letters.

      Bastille overthrown, 1789.


  PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY. +1792-1822+. Poet.
    +Queen Mab+ (1810); +Prometheus Unbound+--a Tragedy (1819); +Ode to
    the Skylark+, +The Cloud+ (1820); +Adonaïs+ (1821), and many other
    poems; and several prose works.

      Cape of Good Hope Hope taken, 1795.
      Bonaparte in Italy, 1796.
      Battle of the Nile, 1798.


  JOHN KEATS. +1795-1821+. Poet.
    +Poems+ (1817); +Endymion+ (1818); +Hyperion+ (1820). “Had Keats
    lived to the ordinary age of man, he would have been one of the
    greatest of all poets.”

      Union of Great Britain and Ireland, 1801.
      Trafalgar and Nelson, 1805.


      Peninsular War, 1808-14.
      Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia; Moscow burnt, 1812.


  THOMAS CARLYLE. +1795-1881+. Literary man; poet; translator; essayist;
  reviewer; political writer; historian.
    +German Romances+-- a set of Translations (1827); +Sartor
    Resartus+-- “The Tailor Repatched” (1834); +The French Revolution+
    (1837); +Heroes and Hero-Worship+ (1840); +Past and Present+ (1843);
    +Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches+ (1845); +Life of Frederick the
    Great+ (1858-65). “With the gift of song, Carlyle would have been
    the greatest of epic poets since Homer.”

      War with United States, 1812-14.
      Battle of Waterloo,1815.


      George IV. ascends the throne, 1820.
      Greek War of Freedom, 1822-29.
      Byron in Greece, 1823-24.
      Catholic Emancipation, 1829.

  LORD MACAULAY (Thomas Babington). +1800-1859+. Barrister; Edinburgh
  Reviewer; M.P.; Member of the Supreme Council of India; Cabinet
  Minister; poet; essayist; historian; peer.
    +Milton+ (in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ 1825); +Lays of Ancient Rome+
    (1842); +History of England+-- unfinished (1849-59). “His pictorial
    faculty is amazing.”

      William IV. ascends the throne, 1830.
      The Reform Bill, 1832.
      Total Abolition of Slavery, 1834.

  LORD LYTTON (Edward Bulwer). +1805-1873+. Novelist; poet; dramatist;
  M.P.; Cabinet Minister; peer.
    +Ismael and Other Poems+ (1825); +Eugene Aram+ (1831); +Last Days of
    Pompeii+ (1834); +The Caxtons+ (1849); +My Novel+ (1853); +Poems+

      Queen Victoria ascends the throne, 1837.


      Irish Famine, 1845.

  JOHN STUART MILL. +1806-1873+. Clerk in the East India House;
  philospher; political writer; M.P.; Lord Rector of the University of
  St Andrews.
    +System of Logic+ (1843); +Principles of Political Economy+ (1848);
    +Essay on Liberty+ (1858); +Autobiography+ (1873); “For judicial
    calmness, elevation of tone, and freedom from personality, Mill is
    unrivalled among the writers of his time.”

      Repeal of the Corn Laws, 1846.


      Revolution in Paris, 1851.
      Death of Wellington, 1852.

  HENRY W. LONGFELLOW. +1807-1882+. Professor of Modern Languages and
  Literature in Harvard University, U.S.; poet; prose-writer.
    +Outre-Mer+--a Story (1835); +Hyperion+--a Story (1839); +Voices
    of the Night+ (1841); +Evangeline+ (1848) +Hiawatha+ (1855);
    +Aftermath+ (1873). “His tact in the use of language is probably the
    chief cause of his success.”

      Napoleon III. Emperor of the French, 1852.
      Russian War, 1854-56.

  LORD TENNYSON (Alfred Tennyson). +1809----+. Poet; poet-laureate;
    +Poems+ (1830) +In Memoriam+ (1850); +Maud+ (1855); +Idylls of the
    King+ (1859-73); +Queen Mary+--a Drama (1875); +Becket+--a Drama
    (1884). He is at present our greatest living poet.

      Franco-Austrian War, 1859.


      Emancipation of Russian serfs, 1861.

  ELIZABETH B. BARRETT (afterwards Mrs Browning). +1809-1861+. Poet;
  prose-writer; translator.
    +Prometheus Bound+-- translated from the Greek of Æschylus (1833);
    +Poems+ (1844); +Aurora Leigh+ (1856); and _Essays_ contributed to
    various magazines.

      Austro-Prussian “Seven Weeks’ War”, 1866.
      Suez canal finished, 1869.


  WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY. +1811-1863+. Novelist; writer in ‘Punch’;
    +The Paris Sketch-Book+ (1840); +Vanity Fair+ (1847); +Esmond+
    (1852); +The Newcomes+(1855); +The Virginians+ (1857). The
    greatest novelist and one of the most perfect stylists of this
    century. “The classical English humorist and satirist of the reign
    of Queen Victoria.”

      Franco-Prussian War 1870-71.
      Third French Republic, 1870.
      William I. of Prussia made Emperor of the Germans at Versailles,

  CHARLES DICKENS. +1812-1870+. Novelist.
    +Sketches by Boz+ (1836); +The Pickwick Papers+ (1837); +Oliver
    Twist+ (1838); +Nicholas Nickleby+ (1838); and many other novels and
    works; +Great Expectations+ (1868). The most popular writer that
    ever lived.

      Rome the new capital of Italy, 1871.
      Russo-Turkish War 1877-78.
      Berlin Congress and Treaty, 1878.

  ROBERT BROWNING. +1812----+. Poet.
    +Pauline+ (1833); +Paracelsus+ (1836); _Poems_ (1865); +The Ring and
    the Book+ (1869); and many other volumes of poetry.

      Leo XIII. made Pope in 1878.


  JOHN RUSKIN. +1819----+. Art-critic; essayist; teacher; literary man.
    +Modern Painters+ (1843-60); +The Stones of Venice+ (1851-53); +The
    Queen of the Air+ (1869); +An Autobiography+ (1885); and very many
    other works. “He has a deep, serious, and almost fanatical reverence
    for art.”

      Assassination of Alexander II., 1881.
      Arabi Pasha’s Rebellion 1882-83.
      War in the Soudan, 1884.

  GEORGE ELIOT. +1819-1880+. Novelist; poet; essayist.
    +Scenes of Clerical Life+ (1858); +Adam Bede+ (1859); and many other
    novels down to +Daniel Deronda+ (1876); +Spanish Gypsy+ (1868);
    +Legend of Jubal+ (1874).

      Murder of Gordon, 1884.
      New Reform Bill, 1885.


  [Spellings in the Index are sometimes different from those used in
  the main text, as with the names “Shakespeare” and “Wycliffe”, or the
  use of ligatures in names such as “Bæda” and “Cædmon”. Paragraph
  references given in {braces} were added by the transcriber. Parts
  III and IV are separately indexed.]


  +African+ words in English, 263.
  +American+ words in English, 263.
  +Analytic+ English (= modern), 239 {III.2}.
  +Ancient+ English, 199 {I.4}.
    synthetic, 239 {III.1}.
  +Anglo-Saxon+, specimen from, 250 {IV.2}.
    contrasted with English of Wyclif and Tyndale, 251 {IV.3}.
  +Arabic+ words in English, 263.
  +Aryan+ family of languages, 195 {intro.7}.

  +Bible+, English of the, 256 {IV.11}.
  +Bilingualism+, 222 {II.33}.

  +Changes+ of language, never sudden, 198 {I.2}.
  +Chinese+ words in English, 264.

  +Dead+ and living languages, 198 {I.1}.
  +Dialects+ of English, 238 {II.52}.
  +Doublets+, English and other, 236-238 {II.47-II.51}.
    Greek, 233 {II.45}.
    Latin, 230-233 {II.41-II.43}.
  +Dutch+ and Welsh contrasted, 197 {intro.10}.
    words in English, 260 {V.5}.

  +English+, 194 {intro.4}.
    a Low-German tongue, 196 {intro.9}.
    diagram of, 203.
    dialects of, 238 {II.52}.
    early and oldest, compared, 252 {IV.5}.
    elements of, characteristics of the two, 234-236 {II.46-II.47}.
    English element in, 202 {II.2}.
    foreign elements in, 204 {II.5}.
    grammar of, its history, 239-249 {III.1-III.16}.
    its spread over Britain, 197 {intro.11}.
    modern, 258-265 {V.1-V.10}.
    nation, 202 {II.1}.
    of the Bible, 256 {IV.11}.
    of the thirteenth century, 254 {IV.8}.
    of the fourteenth century, 255 {IV.9}.
    of the sixteenth century, 256 {IV.10}.
    on the Continent, 194 {intro.5}.
    periods of, 198-201 {I.3-I.8}.
      marks which distinguish, 254.
    syntax of, changed, 245 {III.11}.
    the family to which it belongs, 195 {intro.7}.
    the group to which it belongs, 195 {intro.8}, 196.
    vocabulary of, 202-238 {II.1-II.52}.

  +Foreign+ elements in English, 204 {II.5}.
  +French+ (new) words in English, 261 {V.6}.
    (Norman), see Norman-French.

  +German+ words in English, 262 {V.7}.
  +Grammar+ of English, 239-249 {III.1-III.16}.
    comparatively fixed (since 1485), 258 {V.1}.
    First Period, 240 {III.5}.
    general view of its history, 243 {III.9}.
    Second Period, 241 {III.6}.
    short view of its history, 239-243 {III.3-III.8}.
    Third Period, 242 {III.7}.
    Fourth Period, 242 {III.8}.
  +Greek+ doublets, 233 {II.45}.
  +Gutturals+, expulsion of, 246-248 {III.12-III.14}.

  +Hebrew+ words in English, 262 {V.8}.
  +Hindu+ words in English, 264.
  +History+ of English, landmarks in, 266.
  +Hungarian+ words in English, 264.

  +Indo-European+ family, 195 {intro.7}.
  +Inflexions+ in different periods, compared, 253 {IV.6}.
    loss of, 239 {III.3}, 240 {III.4}.
    grammatical result of loss, 248 {III.16}.
  +Italian+ words in English, 259 {V.4}.

  +Keltic+ element in English, 204-206 {II.6-II.9}.

  +Landmarks+ in the history of English, 266.
  +Language+, 193 {intro.1}.
    changes of, 198 {I.2}.
    growth of, 193 {intro.3}.
    living and dead, 198 {I.1}.
    spoken and written, 203 {II.3}.
    written, 193 {intro.2}.
  +Latin+ contributions and their dates, 209 {II.16}.
    doublets, 230-233 {II.41-II.43}.
    element in English, 208-233 {II.15-II.44}.
    of the eye and ear, 230 {II.41}.
    of the First Period, 210 {II.17}.
      Second Period, 211 {II.19}, 212 {II.21}.
      Third Period, 212-227 {II.22-II.36}.
      Fourth Period, 227-230 {II.37-II.39}.
    triplets, 233 {II.44}.
  +Lord’s Prayer+, in four versions, 251 {IV.4}, 252.

  +Malay+ words in English, 264.
  +Middle+ English, 200 {I.6}.
  +Modern+ English, 201 {I.8}, 258-265 {V.1-V.10}.
    analytic, 239 {III.2}.
  +Monosyllables+, 244 {III.10}.

  +New words+ in English, 258-265 {V.2-V.10}.
  +Norman-French+, 212 {II.22}.
    bilingualism caused by, 222 {II.33}.
    contributions, general character of, 220 {II.30}.
    dates of, 213-215 {II.23-II.24}.
    element in English, 212-227 {II.22-II.36}.
    gains to English from, 221-224 {II.31-II.33}.
    losses to English from, 225-227 {II.34-II.36}.
    synonyms, 222 {II.32}.
    words, 216-220 {II.24-II.29}.

  +Oldest+ and early English compared, 252 {IV.5}.
  +Order+ of words in English, changed, 245 {III.11}.

  +Periods+ of English, 198-201 {I.3-I.8}.
      Ancient, 199 {I.4}.
      Early, 199 {I.5}.
      Middle, 200 {I.6}.
      Tudor, 201 {I.7}.
      Modern, 201 {I.8}.
    grammar of the different, 239-249 {III.1-III.16}.
    marks indicating different, 254.
    specimens of different, 250-257 {IV.1-IV.12}.
  +Persian+ words in English, 264.
  +Polynesian+ words in English, 264.
  +Portuguese+ words in English, 264.

  +Renascence+ (Revival of Learning), 227 {II.37}.
  +Russian+ words in English, 264.

  +Scandinavian+ element in English, 206-208 {II.10-II.14}.
  +Scientific+ terms in English, 265 {V.10}.
  +Spanish+ words in English, 259 {V.3}.
  +Specimens+ of English of different periods, 250-257 {IV.1-IV.12}.
  +Spoken+ and written language, 203 {II.3}.
  +Syntax+ of English, change in, 245 {III.11}.
  +Synthetic+ English (= ancient), 239 {III.1}.

  +Tartar +words in English, 264.
  +Teutonic+ group, 195 {intro.8}.
  +Tudor+ English, 201 {I.7}.
  +Turkish+ words in English, 264.
  +Tyndale’s+ English, compared with Anglo-Saxon and Wyclif, 251 {IV.3}.

  +Vocabulary+ of the English language, 202-238 {II.1-II.52}.

  +Welsh+ and Dutch contrasted, 197 {intro.10}.
  +Words+ and inflexions in different periods, compared, 253 {IV.6}.
    new, in English, 258-265 {V.2-V.10}.
  +Written+ language, 193 {intro.2}.
    and spoken, 203 {II.3}.
  +Wyclif’s+ English, compared with Tyndale’s and Anglo-Saxon,
        251 {IV.3}.


  +Addison+, Joseph, 315 {VI.7}.
  +Alfred+, 276 {I.9}.
  _Anglo-Saxon Chronicle_, 276 {I.10}.
  +Arnold+, Matthew, 359 {IX.10}.
  +Austen+, Jane, 348 {VIII.25}.

  +Bacon+, Francis, 299 {V.3}.
  +Bæda+ (Venerable Bede), 275 {I.8}.
  +Barbour+, John, 285 {II.10}.
  _Beowulf_, 273 {I.5}.
  +Blake+, William, 334 {VII.20}.
  +Browning+, Robert, 358 {IX.8}.
  +Browning+, Mrs., 357 {IX.7}.
  _Brunanburg, Song of_, 275 {I.7}.
  +Brunne+, Robert of, 279 {I.12}.
  _Brut_, 277 {I.11}.
  +Bunyan+, John, 309 {V.17}.
  +Burke+, Edmund, 326 {VII.6}.
  +Burns+, Robert, 332 {VII.16}.
  +Butler+, Samuel, 304 {V.10}.
  +Byron+, George Gordon, Lord, 343 {VIII.16}.

  +Cædmon+, 274 {I.6}.
  +Campbell+, Thomas, 342 {VIII.14}.
  +Carlyle+, Thomas, 349 {VIII.27}.
  +Caxton+, William, 288 {III.3}.
  +Chatterton+, Thomas, 333 {VII.18}.
  +Chaucer+, Geoffrey, 283 {II.7}.
    followers of, 287 {III.1}.
  +Coleridge+, Samuel Taylor, 340 {VIII.10}.
  +Collins+, William, 321 {VI.19}.
  +Cowper+, William, 329 {VII.11}.
  +Crabbe+, George, 331 {VII.13}.

  +Defoe+, Daniel, 312 {VI.3}.
  +De Quincey+, Thomas, 348 {VIII.26}.
  +Dickens+, Charles, 361 {IX.15}.
  +Dryden+, John, 305 {V.12}.

  +Eliot+, George, 364 {IX.19}.

  +Gibbon+, Edward, 327 {VII.8}.
  +Gloucester+, Robert of, 279 {I.12}.
  +Goldsmith+, Oliver, 325 {VII.4}.
  +Gower+, John, 282 {II.5}.
  +Gray+, Thomas, 320 {VI.17}.

  +Hobbes+, Thomas, 308 {V.16}.
  +Hooker+, Richard, 296 {IV.16}.

  +James I.+ (of Scotland), 287 {III.2}.
  +Johnson+, Samuel, 323 {VII.2}.
  +Jonson+, Ben, 295 {IV.15}.

  +Keats+, John, 345 {VIII.20}.

  +Lamb+, Charles, 346 {VIII.23}.
  +Landor+, Walter Savage, 347 {VIII.24}.
  +Langlande+, William, 282 {II.6}.
  +Layamon+, 277 {I.11}.
  +Locke+, John, 309 {V.18}.
  +Longfellow+, Henry Wadsworth, 354 {IX.3}.

  +Macaulay+, Thomas Babington, 351 {VIII.29}.
  _Maldon_, Song of the Fight at, 275 {I.7}.
  +Mandeville+, Sir John, 281 {II.3}.
  +Marlowe+, Christopher, 295 {IV.14}.
  +Milton+, John, 303 {V.8}.
  +Moore+, Thomas, 342 {VIII.15}.
  +More+, Sir Thomas, 290 {IV.3}.
  +Morris+, William, 360 {IX.12}.

  +Orm’s+ _Ormulum_, 278 {I.12}.

  +Pope+, Alexander, 317 {VI.11}, 319 {VI.14}.

  +Raleigh+, Sir Walter, 298 {V.2}.
  +Ruskin+, John, 363 {IX.17}.

  +Scott+, Sir Walter, 339 {VIII.5}.
  +Shakespeare+, William, 292 {IV.9}, 301 {V.5}.
    contemporaries of, 294 {IV.13}.
  +Shelley+, Percy Bysshe, 344 {VIII.18}.
  +Sidney+, Sir Philip, 297 {IV.18}.
  +Southey+, Robert, 341 {VIII.12}.
  +Spenser+, Edmund, 291 {IV.6}.
  +Steele+, Richard, 316 {VI.10}.
  +Surrey+, Earl of, 289 {IV.2}.
  +Swift+, Jonathan, 313 {VI.5}.

  +Taylor+, Jeremy, 307 {V.14}.
  +Tennyson+, Alfred, 355 {IX.5}.
  +Thackeray+, William Makepeace, 361 {IX.14}.
  +Thomson+, James, 319 {VI.15}, 320 {VI.16}.
  +Tyndale+, William, 290 {IV.4}.

  +Wordsworth+, William, 337 {VIII.3}.
  +Wyatt+, Sir Thomas, 289 {IV.2}.
  +Wyclif+, John, 282 {II.4}.

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *


“+_The chief glory of every people arises from its authors._+”

_An Introduction to the Study of Robert Browning’s Poetry._

  By HIRAM CORSON, LL.D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature
  in the Cornell University. 5¼ by 7½ inches. × + 338 pages. Cloth.
  Price by mail, $1.50; Introduction price, $1.40.

The purpose of this volume is to afford some aid and guidance to the
study of Robert Browning’s Poetry, which being the most complexly
subjective of all English poetry, is, for that reason alone, the most
difficult. And then the poet’s favorite art form, the dramatic, or
rather psychologic, monologue, which is quite original with himself, and
peculiarly adapted to the constitution of his genius, and to the
revelation of themselves by the several “dramatis personæ,” presents
certain structural difficulties, but difficulties which, with an
increased familiarity, grew less and less. The exposition presented in
the Introduction, of its constitution and skilful management, and the
Arguments given to the several poems included in the volume, will, it is
hoped, reduce, if not altogether remove, the difficulties of this kind.
In the same section of the Introduction certain peculiarities of the
poet’s diction, which sometimes give a check to the reader’s
understanding of a passage, are presented and illustrated.

It is believed that the notes to the poems will be found to cover all
points and features of the texts which require explanation and
elucidation. At any rate, no real difficulties have been wittingly
passed by.

The following Table of Contents will give a good idea of the plan and
scope of the work:--

  I. The Spiritual Ebb and Flow exhibited in English Poetry from
    Chaucer to Tennyson and Browning.

  II. The Idea of Personality and of Art as an intermediate agency of
    Personality, as embodied in Browning’s Poetry. (Read before the
    Browning Society of London in 1882.)

  III. Browning’s Obscurity.

  IV. Browning’s Verse.

  V. Arguments of the Poems.

  VI. Poems. (Under this head are thirty-three representative poems,
    the Arguments of which are given in the preceding section.)

  VII. List of criticisms of Browning’s works, selected from Dr.
    Furnivall’s “Bibliography of Robert Browning” contained in the
    Browning Society’s Papers.

_From +Albert S. Cook+, Professor of English Literature in the
University of California_:--

  Among American expositors of Browning, Professor Corson is easily
  first. He has not only satisfied the English organization which
  devotes itself to the study of the poet, but, what is perhaps a
  severer test, he attracts the reader to whom Browning is only a
  name, and, in the compass of one small volume, educates him into the
  love and appreciation of the poet. If Browning is to be read in only
  a single volume, this, in my opinion, is the best; if he is to be
  studied zealously and exhaustively, Professor Corson’s book is an
  excellent introduction to the complete series of his works.

_From +The Critic+:--

  Ruskin, Browning, and Carlyle all have something in common: a vast
  message to deliver, a striking way of delivering it, and an
  over-mastering spirituality. In none of them is there mere smooth,
  smuck surface: all are filled with the fine wrinkles of thought
  wreaking itself on expression with many a Delphic writhing. A priest
  with a message cares little for the vocal vehicle; and yet the
  utterances of all three men are beautifully melodious. Chiefest of
  them all in his special poetic sphere appears to be Browning, and to
  him Professor Corson thinks our special studies should be directed.
  This book is a valuable contribution to Browning lore, and will
  doubtless be welcomed by the Browning clubs of this country and
  England. It is easy to see that Professor Corson is more than an
  annotator: he is a poet himself, and on this account he is able to
  interpret Browning so sympathetically.

_From +The Unitarian Review+, Boston, March, 1887_:--

  More than almost any other poet, Browning-- at least, his reader--
  needs the help of a believing, cheery, and enthusiastic guide, to
  beguile the weary pilgrimage.

  There is, as we have intimated, a fast-growing esoteric literature
  of exposition and comment,-- part of it simply the expression of the
  disciple’s loyal homage, part of it designed to win and educate the
  reluctant Philistine intellect to the comforts of a true faith. In
  the latter class we reckon the excellent work of Professor Corson,
  of Cornell University. More than half of it is, as it should be,
  made up of a selection from the shorter poems, giving each complete;
  while these include what is perhaps the most readable and one of the
  most characteristic of the narrative pieces, “The Flight of the
  Duchess,” with which a beginner may well make his first attempt.

_From +The Christian Union+, New York_:--

  Browning, like every other great original artist, has been compelled
  to wait upon the slow processes by which his own public has been

  It is doubtful if any other single work on Browning deserves to rank
  with this, with the exception of Professor Dowden’s striking
  comparative study of Browning and Tennyson. Professor Corson’s
  elucidation of the idea of personality in art as embodied in Mr.
  Browning’s poetry is the most luminous, the most adequate, and the
  most thoroughly helpful article that has ever been written on
  Browning’s poetry. Those who study it carefully will discern in it a
  rare insight into the workings of one of the most subtle of modern
  minds, and a singularly clear and complete statement of the
  philosophy of life at which that mind has arrived. The chapters on
  Browning’s obscurity and on his use of the dramatic monologue are
  also extremely suggestive and helpful; the selections from
  Browning’s poems are admirably chosen, and, with the notes, make the
  best of all possible introductions to the study of Browning.

_From +Rev. Francis Tiffany+, in “The Boston Herald,” Nov. 30, 1886_:--

  The volume is well worthy the serious study of thinking men and
  women, for it embodies the results of years, not only of thorough
  investigation, but of the finest poetical appreciation. From
  beginning to end, it is pervaded with a fervid feeling that not to
  know Robert Browning is to lose something.

  Professor Corson, in his chapter on “Browning’s Obscurity,” has done
  his best to smooth the path of the reader by explaining, and so
  removing from his way, those grammatical obstructions, habits of
  word inversion and baffling ellipses that stand as a lion in the
  path to so many of the poet’s untried readers. This chapter is
  exceedingly well wrought out, and, once carefully studied, with the
  illustrations given, can hardly fail to banish many a perplexity.

_From +The American+, Philadelphia_:--

  Can Browning be made intelligible to the common mind? Ten years ago
  it was assumed that he could not. But of late years a different view
  has begun to prevail. And as all those who have addressed themselves
  seriously to the study of Browning report themselves as having found
  him repay the trouble he gave them, there has arisen very naturally
  an ambition to share in their fruitful experience. Hence the rise of
  Browning Societies on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the
  publication of analyses and discussions of his poems, and the
  preparation of such manuals as this of Professor Hiram Corson’s.

  Professor Corson is a Browningite of the first era. He owes nothing
  but encouragement to the new enthusiasm which has gathered around
  the writings of the Master, whom he recognized as such long before
  he had begun to attain any general recognition of his masterfulness.
  Browning has helped him to a deeper sense of the spiritual life
  present in the older current of English poetry. He finds in him the
  “subtlest assertor of the soul in song,” and the noblest example of
  the spiritual element in our modern verse. He thinks that no greater
  mistake has been made with regard to him, than to treat him merely
  as the most intellectual of our poets. He is that, but far more; he
  is the most spiritual of our poets also.

  All or nearly all his poems are character-studies of the deeper
  sort, and hence the naturalness with which they fall into the form
  of dramatic monologues. It is true, as Mr. Corson says, that the
  liberties our poet takes in the collocation of words, the complexity
  of constructions, and some of his verbal liberties, are of a nature
  to increase the difficulty the careless reader finds. But there are
  poems and passages of his which present none of these minor
  stumbling-blocks, but of which no reader will make anything until he
  has acquired the poet’s interest in personality, its God-given
  mission as a force for the world’s regeneration, and its innate
  intimacy with divine forces. But we believe that with Mr. Corson’s
  aids-- notes as well as preliminary analyses-- they can be mastered
  by any earnest student; and certainly few things in literature so
  well repay the trouble.

  +F. A. March+, _Prof. in Lafayette Coll_.: Let me congratulate you
  on having brought out so eloquent a book, and acute, as Professor
  Corson’s Browning. I hope it pays as well in money as it must in
  good name.

  +Rev. Joseph Cook+, _Boston_: Professor Corson’s Introduction to
  Robert Browning’s Poetry appears to me to be admirably adapted to
  its purposes. It forms an attractive porch to a great and intricate
  cathedral.    (_Feb. 21, 1887._)

  +Louise M. Hodgkins+, _Prof. of English Literature, Wellesley
  Coll._: I consider it the most illuminating textbook which has yet
  been published on Browning’s poems.    (_March 12, 1887._)

  +F. H. Giddings+, in _“The Paper World,” Springfield, Mass._: It is
  a stimulating, wisely helpful book. The arguments of the poems are
  explained in luminous prose paragraphs that take the reader directly
  into the heart of the poet’s meaning. Chapters on Browning’s
  obscurity and Browning’s verse clear away, or rather show the reader
  how to overcome by his own efforts, the admitted difficulties
  presented by Browning’s style. These chapters bear the true test;
  they enable the attentive reader to see, as Professor Corson sees,
  that such features of Browning’s diction are seldom to be condemned,
  but often impart a peculiar crispness to the expressions in which
  they occur.

  The opening chapter of the book is the finest, truest introduction
  to the study of English literature, as a whole, that any American
  writer has yet produced.

  This chapter leads naturally to a profound and noble essay, of which
  it would be impossible to convey any adequate conception in a
  paragraph. It prepares the reader for an appreciation of Browning’s
  loftiest work.    (_March, 1887._)

  +Melville B. Anderson+, _Prof. of English Literature, Purdue Univ.,
  in “The Dial,” Chicago_: The arguments to the poems are made with
  rare judgment. Many mature readers have hitherto been repelled from
  Browning by real difficulties such as obstruct the way to the inner
  sanctuary of every great poet’s thought. Such readers may well be
  glad of some sort of a path up the rude steeps the poet has climbed
  and whither he beckons all who can to follow him.
      (_January, 1887._)

  +Queries+, _Buffalo, N.Y._: It is the most noteworthy treatise on
  the poetry of Browning yet published. Professor Corson is well
  informed upon the poetic literature of the age, is an admirably
  clear writer, and brings to the subject he has in hand ample
  knowledge and due-- we had almost said undue-- reverence. It has
  been a labor of love, and he has performed it well. The book will be
  a popular one, as readers who are not familiar with or do not
  understand Browning’s poetry either from incompetency, indolence, or
  lack of time, can here gain a fair idea of Browning’s poetical aims,
  influence, and works without much effort, or the expense of
  intellectual effort. Persons who have made a study of Browning’s
  poetry will welcome it as a matter of course.    (_December, 1886._)

  +Education+, _Boston_: Any effort to aid and guide the young in the
  study of Robert Browning’s poetry is to be commended. But when the
  editor is able to grasp the hidden meaning and make conspicuous the
  poetic beauties of so famous an author, and, withal, give such
  clever hints, directions, and guidance to the understanding and the
  enjoyment of the poems, he lays us all under unusual obligations. It
  is to be hoped that this book will come into general use in the high
  schools, academies, and colleges of America. It is beautifully
  printed, in clear type, on good paper, and is well bound.
      (_February, 1887._)


_Practical Lessons in the Use of English._

  For Primary and Grammar Schools. By MARY F. HYDE, Teacher of
  Composition in the State Normal School, Albany, N.Y.

This work consists of a series of _Practical Lessons_, designed to aid
the pupil in his own use of English, and to assist him in understanding
its use by others. No topic is introduced for study that does not have
some practical bearing upon one or the other of these two points.

The pupil is first led to observe certain facts about the language, and
then he is required to apply those facts in various exercises. At every
step in his work he is compelled to think.

The Written Exercises are a distinctive feature of this work. These
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Simple exercises in composition are given from the first. In these
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words, but so to interest him in his subject, that, when writing, he
will think simply of what he is trying to say.

Special prominence is given to letter-writing and to written forms
relating to the ordinary business of life.

The work will aid teachers as well as pupils. It is so arranged that
even the inexperienced teacher will have no difficulty in awakening an
interest in the subjects presented.

This series consists of three parts (in two volumes), the lessons being
carefully graded throughout:--

  +_Part First. For Primary Schools.--Third Grade._+
  +_Part Second. For Primary Schools.--Fourth Grade._+
  (Part Second will be bound with Part First.)
    [_Ready soon._
  +_Part Third. For Grammar Schools._+
    [_Ready in September._

_The English Language; Its Grammar, History, and Literature._

  By Prof. J. M. D. MEIKLEJOHN, of the University of St. Andrews,
  Scotland. One volume. viii + 388 pages. Introduction price, $1.30.
  Price by mail, $1.40. Also bound in two parts.

Readable in style. Omits insignificant details. Treats all salient
features with a master’s skill, and with the utmost clearness and
simplicity. Contains:--

  I. A concise and accurate _resumé_ of the principles and rules of
    _English Grammar_, with some interesting chapters on _Word-Building
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    and of _Words Disguised in Form_, and _Words Greatly Changed in

  II. Thirty pages of practical instruction in _Composition_,
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  III. A _History of the English Language_, giving the sources of its
    vocabulary and the story of its grammatical changes, with a table
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  IV. An _Outline of the History of English Literature_, embracing
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The Index is complete, and is in the most helpful form for the student
or the general reader.

The book will prove invaluable to the teacher as a basis for his course
of lectures, and to the student as a compact and reliable statement of
all the essentials of the subject.    [_Ready August 15th._

_Wordsworth’s Prelude; an Autobiographical Poem._

  Annotated by A. J. GEORGE, Acting Professor of English Literature in
  Boston University, and Teacher of English Literature, Newton (Mass.)
  High School.    [_Text ready in September. Notes later._

This work is prepared as an introduction to the life and poetry of
Wordsworth, and although never before published apart from the author’s
complete works, has long been considered as containing the key to that
poetic philosophy which was the characteristic of the “New Brotherhood.”

_The Disciplinary Value of the Study of English._

  By F. C. WOODWARD, Professor of English and Latin, Wofford College,
  Spartanburg, S.C.

The author restricts himself to the examination of the arguments for the
study of English as a means of discipline, and shows that such study,
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training as the ancient languages or the other modern languages would
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etc., is the only linguistic discipline possible to the great masses of
our pupils, and that it is entirely adequate to the results required of
it as such. He dwells especially on the disciplinary value of the
analytical method as applied to the elucidation of English syntax, and
the striking adaptation of English constructions to the exact methods of
logical analysis. This Monograph discusses English teaching in the
entire range of its disciplinary uses from primary school to high
collegiate work.    [_Ready in August._

_English in the Preparatory Schools._

  By ERNEST W. HUFFCUT, Instructor in Rhetoric in the Cornell

The aim of this Monograph is to present as simply and practically as
possible some of the advanced methods of teaching English grammar and
English composition in the secondary schools. The author has kept
constantly in mind the needs of those teachers who, while not giving
undivided attention to the teaching of English, are required to take
charge of that subject in the common schools. The defects in existing
methods and the advantages of fresher methods are pointed out, and the
plainest directions given for arousing and maintaining an interest in
the work and raising it to its true place in the school curriculum.
    [_Ready in August._

_The Study of Rhetoric in the College Course._

  By J. F. GENUNG, Professor of Rhetoric in Amherst College.

This book is the outcome of the author’s close and continued inquiry
into the scope and limits of rhetorical study as pursued by
undergraduates, and of his application of his ideas to the organization
of a progressive rhetorical course. The first part defines the place of
rhetoric among the college studies, and the more liberal estimate of its
scope required by the present state of learning and literature. This is
followed by a discussion of what may and should be done, as the most
effective practical discipline of students toward the making of
literature. Finally, a systematized and progressive course in rhetoric
is sketched, being mainly the course already tried and approved in the
author’s own classes.    [_Ready._

_Methods of Teaching and Studying History._

  Edited by G. STANLEY HALL, Professor of Psychology and Pedagogy in
  Johns Hopkins University. 12mo. 400 pages. Mailing price, $1.40;
  Introduction price, $1.30.

This book gathers together, in the form most likely to be of direct
practical utility to teachers, and especially students and readers of
history, generally, the opinions and modes of instruction, actual or
ideal, of eminent and representative specialists in each department. The
following Table of Contents will give a good idea of the plan and scope
of this valuable book:--

  +Introduction.+ By the Editor.

  +Methods of Teaching American History.+ By Dr. A. B. Hart, Harvard

  +The Practical Method in Higher Historical Instruction.+ By
  Professor Ephraim Emerton, of Harvard University.

  +On Methods of Teaching Political Economy.+ By Dr. Richard T. Ely,
  Johns Hopkins University.

  +Historical Instruction in the Course of History and Political
  Science at Cornell University.+ By President Andrew D. White,
  Cornell University.

  +Advice to an Inexperienced Teacher of History.+ By W. C. Collar,
  A.M., Head Master of Roxbury Latin School.

  +A Plea for Archæological Instruction.+ By Joseph Thacher Clarke,
  Director of the Assos Expedition.

  +The Use of a Public Library in the Study of History.+ By William E.
  Foster, Librarian of the Providence Public Library.

  +Special Methods of Historical Study.+ By Professor Herbert B.
  Adams, Johns Hopkins University.

  +The Philosophy of the State and of History.+ By Professor George S.
  Morris, Michigan and Johns Hopkins Universities.

  +The Courses of Study in History, Roman Law, and Political Economy
  at Harvard University.+ By Dr. Henry E. Scott, Harvard University.

  +The Teaching of History.+ By Professor J. R. Seeley, Cambridge
  University, England.

  +On Methods of Teaching History+. By Professor C. K. Adams, Michigan

  +On Methods of Historical Study and Research in Columbia
  University.+ By Professor John W. Burgess, Columbia University.

  +Physical Geography and History.+

  +Why do Children Dislike History?+ By Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

  +Gradation and the Topical Method of Historical Study; Historical
  Literature and Authorities; Books for Collateral Reading.+ By
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  +Bibliography of Church History.+ By Rev. John Alonzo Fisher, Johns
  Hopkins University.

+D. C. HEATH & CO., Publishers,+

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By T. C. RONEY, Instructor in History, Denison University, Granville,


_The attention of teachers is invited to the following features of this

  1. It emphasizes the vital connection (too often neglected) between
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  5. It presents a _few_ prominent facts, to which he is to add others
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_In particular:_

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  6. This Map can be used effectively with a class in English
  Literature, to record an author’s birthplace, the scene of a story,
  poem, or drama, etc.

+D. C. HEATH & CO., Publishers,+

Boston, New York, and Chicago.


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_Elementary Course in Practical Zoölogy._

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  Published under the auspices of the +Boston Society of Natural
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_How to Find the Stars._

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_Sheldon’s Short German Grammar._

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  +Oscar Howes+, _Prof. of German, Chicago University_: For beginners,
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  +Joseph Milliken+, _formerly Prof. of Modern Languages, Ohio State
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_Deutsch’s Select German Reader._

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  +Sylvester Primer+, _Prof. of Modern Languages, College of
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_Boisen’s Preparatory German Prose._

  +Hermann Huss+, _Prof. of German, Princeton College_: I have been
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  +A. H. Mixer+, _Prof. of Modern Languages, University of Rochester,
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  +Oscar Faulhaber+, _Prof. of Modern Languages, Phillips Exeter
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_Grimm’s Märchen._

  +Henry Johnson+, _Prof. of Mod. Lang., Bowdoin Coll._: It has
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  +Boston Advertiser+: Teachers and students of German owe a debt of
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  +The Beacon+, _Boston_: A capital book for beginners. The editor has
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_Hauff’s Märchen: Das Kalte Herz._

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_Hodge’s Course in Scientific German._

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_Methods of Teaching and Studying History._

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_Select Bibliography of Church History._

  By J. A. FISHER, Johns Hopkins University. Price by mail, 20 cents.

_History Topics for High Schools and Colleges._

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_Large Outline Map of the United States._

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_Small Outline Map of the United States._

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_Rousseau’s Émile._

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       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *


Myhneer Calf
  _spelling unchanged: probably error for “Mynheer”_

Plurals in +es+ (separate syllable).
  _printed in Verbs column_

died of fever in London, in the year 1688.
  _text reads “1698”_

the most polished verse-writer
  _text reads “mose polished”_

he entered himself of the Inner Temple
  _text unchanged_

Punctuation and Presentation:

17. +Latin of the First Period+ (i).--
  _originally formatted as:_
  17. +Latin of the First Period.+--(i)

(The word _al_ means _the_. Thus _alcohol_ = _the spirit_.)
  _close parenthesis missing_

homely, plain, and pedestrian.
  _period (full stop) invisible_

“Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
  _open quote missing_

 and his meat nothing but sauce.”
  _close quote missing_

“A good man is as much in awe of himself as of a whole assembly.”
  _close quote missing_

designated by a hand ([->]) at the foot of each
  _printed text has drawing of hand with pointing finger_

Wordsworth and Coleridge spoke with awe of his genius;
  _semicolon invisible_

“‘Farewell!’ said he, ‘Minnehaha,
  _text has double quote for single before “Minnehaha”_

All´ my | thou´ghts go | on´ward | wi´th you!
  _all ´ marks are as in original text_


+Grammar+ of English...
  general view of its history, 243.
  short view of its history, 239-243.
  _each line indented as if a subentry to preceding line_

language, living and dead 198
  _text reads “168”_

Chaucer, Geoffrey. 283
  _text reads “383”_

Spenser, Edmund. 291
  _text reads “261”_

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Brief History of the English Language and Literature, Vol. 2 (of 2)" ***

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