« PreviousContinue »
In proposing to give an account of the Rise and Progress
it is desirable—in order to avoid mis-
arranged, are shown so clearly in the foregoing table of
but because it has been found easier and more
convenient to class them in this manner. With a view to curtail mere lists of lesser names, a number of the least important have been consigned to a Dictionary Appendix ; and in illustration of those portions of the earlier chapters which deal with the formation of the language, a few Extracts are printed at the end of the volume. As exhibiting, even in an imperfect degree, the structure of English at different periods, these passages may not be without interest ; but they can scarcely be regarded as typical samples of the literary quality of the works from which they are taken. For such, the student is referred to some of the professed collections of longer specimens, or, better still, to the authors themselves. A great writer,' it has been aptly said, 'does not reveal himself here and there, but everywhere.' To be studied to any good purpose, he can only be studied as a whole.
1. THE COMING OF THE ENGLISH.-2. THE OLD ENGLISH LANGUAGE, ITS DIA.
LECTS AND VERSIFICATION.-3. THE EPIC POETRY.-4. THE INTRODUCTIOX OF CHRISTIANITY AND LEARNING.-5. RELIGIOUS POETRY.-6. LYRIC AND SHORTER POEMS.-7. THE PROBE WRITINGS.
1. The Coming of the English.–There is a strange appropriateness in the fact that the poem which perhaps contains the oldest verse of the wide-spread English race should be a record of wanderings. It bears the name of Widsid--the Far-Journeyer. • Always wandering with a hungry heart,' this old English scóp, like Tennyson's Ulysses, could not rest from travel,' and in the bald lines of his verse ho unlocks his word-board' to tell how he
travelled through strange lands, and learnt
These 'home friends' were those of the mainland, for the poem in its earliest portions goes back * to the days when the English tribes dwelt on and near the Cimbrian peninsula. To this day between the Fiord of Flensborg and the river Slei in East Sleswig the little district of Angeln preserves the name of the Angles ; northward were the Jutes, while to the south along the coast and
* As to the conflicting views in regard to the date of Widsid, see Stopford Brooke's History of Early English Literature, 1893, i. 323–326,